Many of the photos in New York Noir are not for the squeamish: corpses in the street or slumped in their car seats appear regularly, as do battered and bloodied criminals and suspects. But the power of these stark images is unmistakable--they are, as the book's title indicates, the raw material for the gritty vision of urban life that film noir popularized. For some people, tabloid crime photos are synonymous with Arthur "Weegee" Fellig; only one of his pictures graces these pages, however, and the other photographers represented here (many identified only by last name or no name at all) demonstrate that his reputation relies as much on promotional hustle as on artistic merit. Whenever possible, archivist William Hannigan supplies background information on the people and incidents in the pictures--but it is the images themselves, rather than the stories, that will stick in the reader's mind. --Ron Hogan
About the Author
Luc Sante, author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York and Evidence, has written extensively on both New York City and photography.