(b Zloczew, Austria [now Poland], 12 June 1899; d New York, 26
American photographer of Austrian birth. He emigrated to the USA in 1910 and
took numerous odd jobs, including working as an itinerant photographer and
as an assistant to a commercial photographer. In 1924 he was hired as a
dark-room technician by Acme Newspictures (later United Press International
Photos). He left, however, in 1935 to become a freelance photographer. He
worked at night and competed with the police to be first at the scene of a
crime, selling his photographs to tabloids and photographic agencies. It was
at this time that he earned the name Weegee (appropriated from the Ouija
board) for his uncanny ability to make such early appearances at scenes of
violence and catastrophe.
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