PDA

View Full Version : Who would you be? HCB or WeeGee?


Krasnaya_Zvezda
11-13-2004, 20:11
These are two of my all-time favorite photographers, but they differ fundamentally in philosophy. Both were quintessential street shooters, one primarily by night, one by day. HCB was adamantly opposed to flash, Weegee lived by it. HCB, although decrying photography as 'art', nonetheless produced brilliantly asthetic work. Weegee similarly produced beautiful work, but approached it from a completely different perspective. I know one doesn't have to choose one or the other, it is possible to have the broader perspective, and take the best attributes of each--- but if you had to choose, as a photog, who would you be?

Krasnaya_Zvezda
11-13-2004, 22:00
I started this poll, and I'll tell you why I voted for Weegee, even though I think HCB is 'hors d' categorie', like Wagner or Feynman:
Weegee is the guy who you'd really want to do some serious drinking with. (Hmm, I could say that about Feynman as well... but since he's not a photographer, he doesn't count.)

rover
11-14-2004, 01:49
Weegee photographed the spectacular, HCB the average. You kinda get the feeling you could have taken the images HCB took in the course of our every day life (even though we know we couldn't), with Weegee you had to be there, have access, sniff out THE places and people TO shoot.

I guess HCB is more my style, but I agee, I bet Weegee was a lot of fun.

ddutchison
11-14-2004, 03:06
Originally posted by Krasnaya_Zvezda
...
Weegee is the guy who you'd really want to do some serious drinking with.
If you survived the evening...
http://www.icp.org/weegee/weegee03.html

As Rover pointed out, HCB made spectacular images of the mundane, something I find to be both an inspiration and a challenge. Personally, I enjoy his photographs more (although enjoyment wasn't what Weegee was after), and feel he was the greater talent.

As to who I'd rather be, well there's something very appealing about the idea of cruising the night-time streets of NYC in the 40's with a police radio up front and a darkroom in the trunk. I'd go with Weegee there.

FrankS
11-14-2004, 06:10
If you think about their lives and which life you would rather live, I'd vote hands-down to be HCB. While there may be some appeal to cruising around at nights chasing police radio calls in NYC, one or two nights, a week at the most, I'd get tired of that pretty fast. Involving yourself in the often gruesome termination of ussuccessful lives of unfortunate people day in and day out, has got to be a downer! Now think about HCB's lifestyle, taking the images he took. It's a no-brainer for me and my personality/temperament.

There have been 2 instances in my life fairly recently that have proven to me that I am not cut out to be a Weegee style street photog. One day I was walking my dog (with my camera) around our small town when I heard the squeal of breaks and a sickening thud sound, not at all like the crash of 2 cars meeting. About 100 yards ahead of me at an intersection a small group of people were gathering and acting agitatedly. I discerned enough of the senario to realize that a child had been struck by the car passing through the intersection. Weegee would have run to get that shot. I turned and walked the other way with a queazy feeling in my stomach.
The second incident occurred while I was chatting with photography buddies on a sidewalk table of our coffeehouseand while listening to the guitar player performing inside. A drunken/reality challenged teen and his girl who was in only a little better shape were seen across the street. The teen was shirtless and had blood smeared on his skin. The police were called and eventually they intercepted the unfortunate couple around the corner from the coffeehouse. I went with my camera with the intention of getting some "really cool" pictures, but as I was watching the scene unfold could only think of the consequences, the evening spent in lockup, the phonecall to the parents, the dissappointment and shock of the parents, etc. Again, I turned and walked away. Weegee would have exposed at least 2 double-sided 4x5 fimholders on those unfortunates!

BTW, does anyone know if he used Grafmatic film holders?

Peter
11-14-2004, 06:38
If I have the choice I would rather be like HCB. His ability to find beauty in the mundane everyday life inspired me to take photos of my environment. I probably would never reach his level of mastery but I would be a happy man knowing the images I preserved could be used by latter generations as a reference of the era I lived in. I have seen enough sufferings and tragedy in my daily work and I have no desire to see them when I am at home looking at my work on the computer.

peter_n
11-14-2004, 08:55
If you can move a viewer with a photograph of something mundane they see every day, then you have really accomplished something. HCB did that on a consistent basis throughout his photographic life.

FrankS
11-14-2004, 09:35
I agree with Peter. It takes more skill and artistic talent to make a fantastic picture of an ordinary subject, than it does to make a fantastic picture of a fantastic subject.

I have always felt that our great Canadian portrait photographer, Karsch, became so famous, not because of his talent, but because of the famous people he had access to. Certainly he was extremely competent, but not brilliant.

Doug
11-14-2004, 12:43
Yes, there's something about celebrity photographers; those who gain access through being interested, competent, and/or knowing somebody.

And indeed a portrait of a grumpy Winston Churchill, for instance, has more wide-spread interest than an equally good portrait of the grumpy baker down the street.

But there are probably enough celebrity photogs competing in the market that to continue in that genre you have to be innovative as well as good.

DougK
11-14-2004, 12:53
While Weegee undeniably produced some great shots, for some reason his work feels invasive to me and has that "paparazzi" feel to it, which I don't particularly care for. Maybe it's the idea of blasting away with big flashes, I don't know.

Obviously my vote went to HCB :)

Stu :)
11-14-2004, 19:30
I too prefer photographer who turns the ordinary into extra-ordinary. But I also like many of Mr. A Fellig's "scenic" photographs. A personal favourite is Simply Add Boiling Water.

For me when it comes to HCB vs. WeeGee, six of one and half a dozen of the other, so-to-say. I prefer the works of Walker Evans and Minor White.

Stu :)

Pherdinand
11-15-2004, 09:04
I prefer HCB, although I still want to be myself (as lousy photographer as I am).
:)

yossarian
02-19-2005, 20:45
Yeah, I voted HCB, but I feel genuine kinship with Elliott Erwitt--a bit more whimsey. But then everytime I see Eugene Smith's "Minimata" I am overwhelmed by the beauty and humanity of that image. Take a look in the eyes of the mother--no image of an expression of genuine love has ever been more affecting and true. I have the same emotional response each time I see it.
It is, for me, perfection.

wlewisiii
02-19-2005, 20:53
Of the two I'm probably closer to Weegee. But if I had to choose one person to model myself on it would be Mr. R. Capa. There is a touch to his journalism that I just don't see, personally, elsewhere. I guess, in the end, I'm in awe of someone who could go ashore at Omaha with only 2 Contax II's around his neck, not even an M1...

William

brcha
02-21-2005, 07:29
I started this poll, and I'll tell you why I voted for Weegee, even though I think HCB is 'hors d' categorie', like Wagner or Feynman:
Weegee is the guy who you'd really want to do some serious drinking with. (Hmm, I could say that about Feynman as well... but since he's not a photographer, he doesn't count.)

If you think that HCB is "hors catégorie" just light up my "lanterne" and tell me what is the point of your poll? All the more if you vote "Weegee" it sounds a little "oxymoronesque", don't you think? Especially within the context of a range-finder user forum (agreed Weegee may have used a Graflex with a range-finder ;) ).

x-ray
07-07-2005, 18:33
Tough to say. Look and tell me.


http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showgallery.php?cat=5045

GeneW
07-07-2005, 18:38
Tell me which one was richer and I'll give you my answer :D

Gene

phototone
07-07-2005, 19:34
I would be Julia Margaret Cameron, of course I would have to have a sex change operation.

RML
07-07-2005, 22:16
HCB. For his artistic vision.
Weegee, for his ability to capture human emotions so strongly in a flash.

wierdcollector
07-07-2005, 22:25
I prefer Weegee myself, not dissing any other photog here. That said, if I don't slow down on my collecting, my wife will have me at intersections cleaning windshields for cash. Then I can go by the name," Squeegee".

TPPhotog
07-08-2005, 01:00
For me it would have to be HCB who as far as I can see was the perfect gentleman and a talented artist. No disrespect to Weegee but it's far easier to capture the dramatic than it is to capture human behavior as art.

As an aside I also love the work of Capa who shot much more than just war pictures. Anyone remember his Hollywood period? There again there was another "very social" drinker and gambler ;)

Socke
07-08-2005, 01:13
None of the above. At the moment I'm pretty happy with being myself :-)

Beniliam
07-16-2005, 16:50
None of the above. At the moment I'm pretty happy with being myself :-)

Exactly I think equal. I admired very much Cartier Bresson´s, Doisneau´s, Erwitt´s works... but I think I can do good photos too. Why not? :) I envy the travels around the world of Henri, but Im young and I believe that I can travel too yet :D

Bertram2
07-16-2005, 17:12
None of both. I'd prefer Batman. ;)

zpuskas
07-17-2005, 16:26
FrankS I agree, I feel the same way about Annie Liebovitz. Famous subjects, famous pictures. The best?
I'd rather be HCB, Weegee, while a great, was just too dark for me.

amateriat
07-07-2006, 20:43
One problem here is that Weegee, famous as his name is, is known for probably a handful of "sensational" photos. But there's a lot more to his work than Mob rub-outs, fires, and other nocturnal tragedies (although he covered those better than just about anyone, whether that appeals to you or not). I'm going to the ICP exhibit ("Unknown Weegee") here in NYC on shortly.

Weegee versus HCB? Why? One is neat, the other, keen.


- Barrett

jlw
07-07-2006, 21:13
If I got to remodel myself along the lines of a famous photographer, I'd likewise prefer Erwitt (or, possibly moreso, Snowdon or Anthony Crickmay.)

But in the poll I voted for Weegee. If you were to liken photographers to thieves, I guess I'd say I have more respect for the highwayman who confronts his adversary in the open, shouts "Stand and deliver!", and takes his chances, than I do for the kind of guy who sneaks up behind the victim and picks his pocket.

jlw
07-07-2006, 21:15
For me it would have to be HCB who as far as I can see was the perfect gentleman...

I take it you haven't read John Malcolm Brinnan's essay "Just Like Java"?

If not, get ready for HCB the con man, exploiter, and master manipulator...

MCTuomey
07-08-2006, 14:09
Tough to say. Look and tell me.


http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showgallery.php?cat=5045

Ans.: Weegee


As for the poll, I may have misinterpreted the question. I voted for Weegee, not for his photographic lifestyle, but for his photographic workproduct. But then I prefer a blues band to a string quartet ...

If I could be any photog, I think Edw Weston would be my choice. He seemed to be able to shoot anything, anywhere, adapting styles effortlessly to his subjects.

Photographic lifestyle? Prob'ly Atget. Shooting and shooting and shooting ...

Magnus
07-08-2006, 14:47
As much as anybody ever wanted they aren't going to be either..... you might adore one or the other but thats about it ..... to many people picking up a camera and trying to copy their "idols" try being yourself, as Beniliam has become a Beniliam and not a HCB or who ever clone....

And then only a few have the qualities of becoming a "photographer" let alone an HCB or any other well known Photog.

kmack
07-08-2006, 17:57
Weegee for me. A working man with a simple philosophy: f8 and be there. A skilled craftsman who was truly an artist with a graflex.

Rayt
07-08-2006, 19:19
Weegee was the working photographer who got paid by the snap and got access to get the snaps. It is certain easier to shoot a boxing match to be near ring side. HCB on the other hand didn't do it for the money as he didn't need to. He just wandered about and took snaps. I have always found the Weegee images to be more profound but then again I don't get to see this side of life whereas in any one of HCB's typical scenes I would have walked right by without even seeing the picture. For that I admire HCB the most for being able to see and photograph extraordinary picture in a less than profound everyday life.

Benjamin Marks
07-14-2006, 13:01
HBC lives in Paris, is cared for by a younger and very attractive wife and seems to have a creative and flourishing third act (satisfying to him, at least) drawing.

Arthur Felig died penniless and unappreciated (or underappreciated anyway).

Both made indellible images of great emotional impact. So which would I choose? Hmph.

Ben

dll927
07-14-2006, 13:21
As for HCB, the above posting would have to be changed to the past tense - he died several months ago.

If I had to pick between the two (and ONLY on that basis), I'd have to go with HCB. I think both of them had their personality quirks, but even though I'm fond of Weegee's work, he always struck me as being rather closely connnected to the less savory side of life. He probably fit into NYC as well as HCB did into Paris.

To paraphrase someone above, I'll take the string quartet over the blues band, but there are other forms of music I prefer over st.4's, too.

Socke
07-14-2006, 16:12
Neither, I'm very happy being Volker and intend to stay Volker for at least 150 more years.

Gabriel M.A.
07-14-2006, 16:28
HBC lives in Paris
So it is true, fame makes you immortal. A little mixup of anagrams shouldn't bother him much.

I'd rather be Hugh Hefner. The fortune alone would allow me to buy all the camera gear I want ;)

morgan
07-14-2006, 20:17
Of these two, HCB is more up my alley, but currenly I'm just completely awed by Capa. I'm reading his memoir "Slightly out of focus" and the amount of courage and flat out balls that he had is amazing.

nzeeman
07-28-2006, 03:36
i think there are many better photographers Baltermants and Capa for example.

IGMeanwell
07-28-2006, 06:26
I tend to be a W.Eugene Smith fan

though I would really like to read "Out of focus"

kbg32
07-28-2006, 06:27
A little Bresson, a little Weegee, pour in a beaker - shaken, not stirred please..........

jan normandale
07-28-2006, 14:07
I'd rather be me. Say, isn't that a tune?

julianphotoart
07-28-2006, 18:22
1. Weegee seems to have done a lot of late-night stuff. I like going to bed.
2. Weegee had a sad life in the end after failing as a cinematographer.
3. HCB had a hum-dinger of a wife.
4. HCB was rich and came from a rich family, so did as he pleased.
5. HCB got free Leica stuff.
6. HCB went to exotic places, met interesting people, and shot them--with a camera I mean.

Krasnaya_Zvezda
07-28-2006, 19:50
1. Weegee seems to have done a lot of late-night stuff. I like going to bed.
2. Weegee had a sad life in the end after failing as a cinematographer.
3. HCB had a hum-dinger of a wife.
4. HCB was rich and came from a rich family, so did as he pleased.
5. HCB got free Leica stuff.
6. HCB went to exotic places, met interesting people, and shot them--with a camera I mean.

As I read your reply, I heard James Stewart's voice, as if he were speaking in the movie, "Anatomy of a Murder".

It was perfect, and you've said it all.

John Camp
07-28-2006, 20:03
Besides, HCB could speak French.

JC

wlewisiii
07-28-2006, 20:09
I don't know. There is certainly some truth to that list in favor of HCB, but Weegee's world from 1935 to 1945 was a rip the like of which is the stuff of legends. Plus he seems to have loved what he was doing and been a good guy to hang with. HCB? Well, let's just say I doubt he & I would ever share a beer while talking about how to shoot the crowd watching a murder scene... ;) So give me him in the days of his '38 Chevy with it's police radio & trunk darkroom & desk instead.

William

ehparis
08-29-2006, 17:06
I started to vote for HCB, but I erased the "X" and wrote in Eugene Smith.

IGMeanwell
08-29-2006, 18:49
1. Weegee seems to have done a lot of late-night stuff. I like going to bed.
2. Weegee had a sad life in the end after failing as a cinematographer.
3. HCB had a hum-dinger of a wife.
4. HCB was rich and came from a rich family, so did as he pleased.
5. HCB got free Leica stuff.
6. HCB went to exotic places, met interesting people, and shot them--with a camera I mean.

I am a night owl ... so Weegee is more my style

but the wife, the free leica stuff, and just the HCB life (post p.o.w) would be quite amazing

but like I said I am still more a fan of smith

thelovecollect
08-29-2006, 19:20
I am a night owl

yes you are...

HCB ftw...his stuff is romantic. i can shoot that...
i cannot shoot like weegee...

but antonin kratochvil or eugene richards are my personal choices...

dmr
08-29-2006, 21:04
Lately I've been trying to experiment to see if I can create "That Weegee Look" with the equipment I have. Here's a link to a few photos from my first proof of concept attempt. They are about half way down in the page.

http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=29787&page=6&pp=10

I'm going to try this style at two events coming up shortly.

Magus
08-30-2006, 01:58
Post deleted by posters request

rxmd
08-30-2006, 02:52
I'm kind of spoiled for this kind of question since I accidentally stumbled across "Steam, Steel and Stars" with O. Winston Link's outstanding and plain amazing photographs three weeks ago. Now I have this strange desire to ditch my rangefinder and start collecting flash bulbs.

Philipp

steve garza
09-22-2006, 11:43
I assume HCB slept w/ more and better looking women.....

dazedgonebye
12-08-2006, 13:34
Can I be HCB and go drinking with Weegee?

kmack
12-09-2006, 13:11
I assume HCB slept w/ more and better looking women.....

See Peter Gowland's site (http://www.petergowland.com/glamour8d.html), about 2/3 down the page is a photo of Weegee with Vampira.;)

FPjohn
12-09-2006, 16:35
Hello:

I expect my efforts fall far short of either-still if one admits one pretensions...

yours
Frank

HAnkg
12-11-2006, 12:50
HCB was loaded and photographed what he pleased when he pleased (+ he was blessed with talent as well as money). Weegee was a working stiff.

Let's see... wandering around France with a little Leica and a bank roll or chasing the police through the seamier side of NY lugging a Graflex with flash to pay the rent. Not much of a contest for me.

mc_vancouver
01-01-2007, 11:13
I have been taking pictures since I was a teen, and that was a few decades ago, and in that time I may have a dozen photographs that I consider as good as anything Cartier-Bresson shot. And I'm happy with that! I have always admired him and was lucky enough to see a three-floor retrospective of his work at the Museum of Photography in Paris, a few years before he died. Cartier Bresson was fortunate in that he had the money from his family to support himself and just take pictures, and from that, built a career with Magnum (http://snipurl.com/16b2w) that is unsurpassed. There are many great photojournalists--Capa, of course, Steve McCurry, David Alan Harvey, David Seymour, Gilles Peress, Susan Meiselas, Elliot Erwit, Martine Franck...but he is, in my estimation, the greatest of all.

trittium
02-17-2007, 22:11
I don't want to be anyone. I want to do my own thing. Forget about Weegee and HCB. Lets not focus on the greats, but rather become them.