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Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous Hardcover – June 5, 2018
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A NEW YORK TIMES BEST ART BOOK OF 2018
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"Christopher Bonanos has finally supplied us with the biography Weegee deserves: sympathetic and comprehensive, a scrupulous account with just the right touch of irreverence. Bonanos...takes the photographer seriously without letting him and his self-mythologizing off the hook." --The New York Times
"[A]n outstanding biography...Bonanos is a peerless guide to Weegee's career, writing with obvious relish and great insight." --Newsday
"A snappily written life of Weegee the Famous...[a] fine biography" --The Wall Street Journal
"Weegee and his world don't encourage minimalism, and, fifty years after his death, he has at last acquired a biographer who can keep up with him." --Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker
"Continually fascinating...deeply researched...compelling." --Kirkus Reviews, *Starred Review*
"The cut and strut of Bonanos' vivid prose captures the rough-and-tumble of mid-twentieth-century New York, while vital details gleaned from his extensive research enliven the portrait...he makes the man behind the camera fully human." --Booklist, *Starred Review*
"[A] superb biography...Bonanos has meticulously researched every aspect of Weegee's life, filling this fascinating and lively account with amusing and touching anecdotes." --Library Journal, *Starred Review*
"[A]n energetic and informative biography...Bonanos's revelatory portrait of 'Weegee the Famous' will interest general readers, as well as those with a special interest in photojournalism." --Publishers Weekly
"[An] impeccably researched biography ...Bonanos offers a lively history of the early years of news photography, rich with anecdotes that create Weegee's persona." --PopMatters.com
"Christopher Bonanos' superb biography reveals how the man born as Usher Fellig in 1899 reinvented himself as a chronicler of the seedier sides of nocturnal Manhattan in the 1930s." --The Seattle Times
"Vivacious ... long-overdue and endlessly entertaining." --The Santa Fe New Mexican
"[A] gritty, exhilarating portrait." --BoweryBoysHistory.com
"Arthur 'Weegee' Fellig was perhaps the perfect vehicle for defining and delivering the fear and wonder of the modern city to our American spirit. Journalist, artist, and huckster, Weegee stole shards of a New York through a camera lens, then reassembled the great city in a mosaic that somehow--despite a fair degree of fraud--still defines urbanity itself for us. We know the photographs, and now, with this biography from Christopher Bonanos, we can finally know something of the legendary, improbable, and much-caricatured man."--David Simon, creator of HBO's The Wire and The Deuce
"Flash is a crackling portrait of a man and his era--as immediate and as alive as Weegee's pictures themselves. Chris Bonanos vivifies not only his subject, but the long lost New York that he lived in, and that made him."--Daniel Okrent, New York Times bestselling author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
"Weegee, in addition to being one of the greatest photographers ever, was a cartoon character and something of a living myth. This has confused perception for the better part of eighty years. Christopher Bonanos's nuanced and sympathetic account succeeds in merging those three aspects--not only was a lot of the bluster for real, but even the pure baloney was hard-won and contextually grounded. His is a sweet and melancholy book and a doorway into a mostly misremembered past."--Luc Sante, author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York
From the Back Cover
"Flash is a crackling portrait of a man and his era--as immediate and as alive as Weegee's pictures themselves. Chris Bonanos vivifies not only his subject, but the long lost New York that he lived in, and that made him." ―Daniel Okrent, New York Times bestselling author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
"Weegee, in addition to being one of the greatest photographers ever, was a cartoon character and something of a living myth. This has confused perception for the better part of eighty years. Christopher Bonanos's nuanced and sympathetic account succeeds in merging those three aspects--not only was a lot of the bluster for real, but even the pure baloney was hard-won and contextually grounded. His is a sweet and melancholy book and a doorway into a mostly misremembered past."
―Luc Sante, author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York
"There's something about a car crash that makes people slow down as they pass by. The same is true of Weegee's photos. Maybe I wouldn't have liked to have known him, but it would've been interesting to have met him. And this fascinating biography by Christopher Bonanos brings to life the gritty old New York City where he lived and worked. He was a legendary character whose work inspired young hopefuls like myself." ―Cindy Sherman, artist
- Publisher : Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition (June 5, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1627793062
- ISBN-13 : 978-1627793063
- Item Weight : 1.46 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.43 x 1.33 x 9.81 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #291,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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Throughout, while author Christopher Bonanos gladly debunks many of Weegee's oft-repeated self-mythologizing, he also lends a considerable amount of sympathy to a largely self-educated immigrant whose appearance, accent, and lack of WASP decorum led to him being a punchline to many mainstreamers even at the height of his fame. This never devolves into armchair psychoanalysis, but one gets the sense from reading this book that much of Weegee's pushiness and misogyny were covers for a deep-seated loneliness. He certainly comes across as misunderstood, and seems to have been a man whose work was primarily his life.
Truth be told, Weegee is a very hard figure to get a handle on, and it hasn't gotten easier with the many Weegee museum retrospectives over the past 20 years. But Bonanos is the first I've read who doesn't try to make the claim that everything Weegee did was high art, or that he was the "American Brassai" or other high-sounding claims. Bonanos gives enough room in most chapters for Weegee to breathe, and places him within the context of changing trends in newspaper and magazine publication in the United States. I can't say that I feel as though I finally know Weegee, but I certainly feel much closer to his essence than I did seeing his old photos at several gallery shows.
One important last note. While many Weegee photos are reproduced in this book, the reproductions themselves are not of the highest quality. This is a biography, not an art book. If you're looking for a coffee table book of Weegee's crime photos, you'll have to go elsewhere. But if you're looking for a true biography of the man, this is the only show in town.