Thursday, May 22, 2008
New York Noir
As you may have noticed from my writing, I am a fan of both true crime and vintage photography. New York Noir: Crime Photos from the Daily News Archive, therefore, was a treat to read. The Daily News culled 125 images from its photography archive, taken from the 1920s to the 1950s, and it's easy to see how tabloid photography influenced noir cinema and popular culture. Known as "New York's Picture Newspaper," the Daily News published photographs that by today's standards would be too grotesque and sensational to print.
Luc Sante, author of Low Life and Evidence, wrote an introduction on the history of tabloid journalism, while editor William Hannigan write about the history of the Daily News in particular. The photographs are primary documents with original captions, and a section in the back provides context and additional information.
Arthur “Weegee” Felling, the master of tabloid photography, only has one photo listed. Many other photographers, with equally compelling work, are listed solely by their last name and are virtual unknowns. The infamous picture of Ruth Snyder, electrocuted at Sing Sing in 1928, taken by Tom Howard with a hidden camera, is also discussed.
The book made me want to discover where these beautiful photographs are housed and how they are being preserved. Brew me a pot of coffee and give me a pair of white gloves, and I'll pour through the collection all day!