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Naked City Paperback – December 17, 2002

2.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"If it bleeds, it leads" -- the cynical battle cry of today's tabloids -- might easily have been the motto of Arthur Fellig, the freelance photojournalist better known as Weegee, who cruised the streets of 1940s New York in the wee hours of the morning in search of the sensational. His pictures of children sleeping on fire escapes, blood-splattered corpses on sidewalks and amorous couples on the beach -- as seen in this reprint of his first book -- reveal that Weegee, unlike his latter day counterparts, had heart and soul. He also had a cockeyed sense of humor, as evidenced by his captions and camera tips. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Weegee's First book, 'Naked City' (1953), was a runaway success and made him a celebrity who suddenly had assignments from Life and Vogue. He was among the first to fully realize the camera's unique power to capture split-second drama and exaggerated emotion. Regarded as some of the most powerful images of the 20th-century photography, Weegee's work now resides in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Revised ed. edition (December 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306812045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306812040
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Weegee knew what kind of photos the editors of the New York daily tabloids wanted, in-your-face gutsy black and whites to capture the reader's imagination over the breakfast table. He always delivered too. This reprint of his 1945 book captures the energy of the Big Apple and yet there are no shots of skyscrapers. Instead the (mostly) ordinary folk of the city are shown getting on with their lives and deaths.

Many of the photos are taken at night, a Weegee trademark. Inside buildings he used infrared film so he could shoot in near blackness and capture his subjects displaying emotions they would hide, had they known a camera was about. Out on the street he captured the latest human tragedy in stark close-up with a blinding flash of his Speed Graphic camera.

The contents of this book are an amazing selection of photos but I was very disappointed by the reproduction, so only three stars. As far as I can tell, the photos have been scanned from the 1945 book rather than from original prints. The paper is coarse which doesn't help the reproduction either. This looks not much better than a book of photocopies. Far better I think to go for Miles Barth's Weegee's World. Although it does not have every photo from 'Naked City', the 250 included are printed as duotones on glossy paper, I particularly like this book because it shows many photos as original un-cropped prints. For instance, in his famous photo, 'The Critic' the three bystanders to the left of the two socialites are usually cropped out but here you can see how great the original was. This book also has three excellent essays about Weegee and his influence on other photographers in the Forties.
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Poor paper quality makes the photographic reproductions look like bad photocopies. I was very disappointed.
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The photos from the original are some of the greatest ever made. It's criminal to see them reproduced in such a low-quality manner. This book's not worth the cheap paper it's printed on. Very low quality images. Looks like a cheap xerox copy of the original. Save your money and buy an original hardcover copy. Don't waste your money on this cheaply made, over-priced paper-back version.
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OK, I've learned my lesson. With so many negative reviews, everyone can't be wrong. I have purchased literally hundreds of books from Amazon, and I like Amazon very much, but this was the worst piece of @#$%$#!! book I have ever purchased from them. How dare they charge $17.50 for this amateurish reprint! I knew it was a print on demand book (the date I ordered it is printed on the back page) but I didn't think it would look like it was printed on a Xerox machine from the '70's that was running out of toner!! The photos are washed out and undiscernable. I'm hoping I can find a beat up copy of the original somewhere. I really would love to have this book. Oh, and BTW, shame on Da Capo Press!!. I own many of their wonderful reprint books on music. My respect for them as a publisher has dropped 80 points!
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A fine selection of Weegee's unposed, spontaneous vignettes of life in the city, at least, as it was in the 30's and 40's, equivalent of today's TV "fuzz and the wuzz". His accompanying commentary, unghosted and punchy, mirrors the b/w images; snappy, to the point. The paper stock used here is cheap, but then, these photos usually appeared in the morning paper...in a time when there were newspapers.
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It is such a shame that the atrocious print quality ruins what could have been an excellent publication.
Perhaps the publishers merely photocopied the old newspaper prints of Weegee's work, how else could it be so bad.
Being such a fan of his work, I can't under emphasize how incredibly disappointed I was with this!!!!
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Beware that if you are looking for a book with info and a decent representation of Weegee's photography, this is not the book for you. I actually thought it was a bootleg photocopied book. The images you can print from your $50 home printer would be 90% better. The text in the book is what gives it one star... buyer beware
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Format: Paperback
This Da Capo paperback edition of Naked City is an abomination before the Lord, an atrocity that deserves a jail sentence if nothing else. The whole reason to buy a book of Weegee's work is to marvel at the great black and white photographs, which in this shoddy, shambolic printing -- if you can call it that -- is not remotely possible. The photos look like Xeroxes, circa 1970. This is the worst book of photographic reproductions I have ever seen and I can't believe the powers that be at Da Capo are so hungry for profit that they would issue this garbage with their name on it. I have one of the Aperture Weegee collections and the reproductions are superb. Give this one a pass and don't waste your bucks as I most surely did.
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