Photographs for “Distortions” series, a project that resulted in experimental portraits of celebrities and political figures.
As legend tells it, Arthur Fellig earned the nickname “Weegee” during his early career as a freelance press photographer in New York City. His apparent sixth sense for crime often led him to a scene well ahead of the police. Observers likened this sense, actually derived from tuning his radio to the police frequency, to the Ouija board, the popular fortune-telling game. Spelling it phonetically, Fellig took Weegee as his professional name.
In the late 1940s, Weegee began experimenting with photographic manipulation. His subjects were often film stars, world leaders both past and present, and figures of the art world. He even turned the camera upon himself.
He used several methods to create these “distortions.” The results are jarring caricatures of well-known faces that make us examine the notion of celebrity in a whole new way.
Although street photography remains his legacy, Weegee considered these experimental photographs his true art.
Marilyn Monroe, ca. 1960
J. Edgar Hoover, 1960s
Brigitte Bardot, 1958
Andy Warhol, 1960s
Queen Elizabeth II, 1950s
Audrey Hepburn, 1950s
Judy Garland, 1960s
Fidel Castro, June 22, 1961
Marlon Brando, ca. 1954
Mao Zedong, 1966
Elizabeth Taylor, April 17, 1961
Mona Lisa, late 1950s
Barbra Streisand, ca. 1965
Weegee, ca. 1950
(Photos by Weegee (Arthur Fellig)/International Center of Photography/Getty Images, via Mashable/Retronaut)