By great good fortune we have, this very week, started to come to grips with Bernard Villemot (1911-1989), in accordance with our Poster of the Month for November, one of the most patrician graphic designers; and Arthur Fellig (stumbled upon by us at the Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto), better known as Weegee (1899-1968), one of the most plebeian figures in the field of mass marketing. Whereas Villemot was a master of gracious handsomeness and beauty (wafting us away from our doldrums and toward ethereal heights), Weegee, a New York tabloid photographer in the 1930s and 1940s, was equally effective (in the course of marketing his own unique skills) in confronting us with an aspect we need to take into account, namely, the dark and ugly side of life.
Notice the piquant irony of the first photo, “Simply Add Boiling Water.” Not one, but two, points of of signage (the second being “Hygrade Frankfurters”) add a special glint to the scene, in turn grotty and glorious.
Such an odd and delightful compositional thrust in this Bally Lotus-like composition of two rich revellers having somehow broken the law of the land they generally control. They certainly didn’t break the law of riveting design!
Weegee was a denizen of the Lower East Side; here we have a Manhattan which keeps the world of Weegee out of the visitor’s eye.
Do you sometimes dream of a larger bedroom? Weegee reminds us, generally coming as we do from the comfort industry, that widespread discomfort is a compelling feature of our energies.
Earthy, but in a fully ethereal register.
Locals beholding a murder victim on the sidewalk.
Children and a burgeoning fresh zone, in this graphic which is sweet and still real.
3D and the sense of a missing dimension!