Forensic Photography, Film Noir, and Fellig: Scenes Excavated by the Night Prowler

Author: Tirohl, Blu

Source: Photography and Culture, Volume 5, Number 2, July 2012 , pp. 135-148(14)

Publisher: Bloomsbury Journals (formerly Berg Journals)

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Abstract:

The transfer of pictorial styles between image practices is examined here through the work of early police photographers, the cinematic style of film noir, and the street images of Arthur Fellig (Weegee). Paradoxically, the moral ambiguity depicted in the former two practices echoes that suggested by Weegee's working method and our own status as viewers; death is presented as a product for our consumption. These apparently distinct practices trespass on the more sordid aspects of life in the modern city, but their products were intended for disparate use. The practitioners of these respective crafts, however, did not exist in a cultural vacuum and evidence of the symbolic heritage operating can be inferred, if we have the time to excavate it.

Keywords: EXPRESSIONISM; FILM NOIR; MUNCH; NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY; POLICE PHOTOGRAPHY; WEEGEE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175145212X13330132506942

Publication date: July 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Photography & Culture is a refereed journal that is international in its scope and inter-disciplinary in its contributions. It aims to interrogate the contextual and historic breadth of photographic practice from a range of informed perspectives and to encourage new insights into the media through original and incisive writing.

    Photography & Culture publishes research papers, discursive critiques, and reviews. In doing so, it offers a leading platform for critical thinking on photography and as essential reading the world over for academics, curators and practitioners with a central and indeed tangential interest in the media.

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