Originally titled The Fashionable People, this photograph is not the journalistic coup it appears to be, but rather a setup planned in advance by the photographer, Arthur H. Fellig, nicknamed Weegee.
On opening night at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1943 — the 60th anniversary of the company and thus its Diamond Jubilee — Weegee sent an assistant to Sammy’s Bar in the Bowery to pick up the drunken woman shown at right. Weegee positioned himself for the picture as the woman encountered Mrs. George Washington Kavanaugh and Lady Decies, two well-known art patrons often featured in New York society pages. The setup is typical of the photographer, who was enamored with stark juxtapositions of rich and poor, young and old, dead and living.
The picture, bearing the title The Fashionable People, was first published in Life magazine on December 03, 1943. It was renamed The Critic in Weegee’s book The Naked City (1945).
Yves Saint-Lauren Outside Church Where Dior’s Funeral Was Held
by Loomis Dean, 1957
Dovima with Elephants
by Richard Avedon, 1955
Richard Avedon, selfportrait
Lisa Fonssagrives on the Eiffel Tower
by Erwin Blumenfeld, 1939
by Horst P. Horst, 1939
In August 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, Horst P. Horst (called a master of dramatic lighting ) took his famous photograph of the Mainbocher Corset in the Paris Vogue studios on the Champs-Elysees. The picture, which marked the end of his work for some time, later became his most cited fashion photograph.
Many consider the photograph to be Horst P. Horst’s best work, an opinion that the photographer himself would probably agree with, for otherwise, how is one to explain that he chose the motif almost as a matter of course for the cover of his autobiography Horst – His Work and His World?
Horst P. Horst photographed his Mainbocher Corset in the studios of the Paris Vogue in 1939. Only a few years earlier, Martin Munkacsi had let a model in light summer clothing and bathing shoes run along the dunes of a beach – freedom, adventure, summertime, sun, air, movement, sporty femininity – all caught by a photographic technique schooled in photojournalism. Munkacsi’s picture, first published in the December 1935 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, caused a sensation. Munkacsi photographed with a Leica, and the photographer moved to keep up with the moving object. Horst in contrast favored the large camera mounted on a stand and a focusing screen that allowed him to calculate his photograph down to the last detail. In other words, Horst sought to produce elegance as the outgrowth of intuition and hard work. How long did he pull at the bands, turn and twirl them, until they arrived at the right balance on an imaginary scale between insignificance and the determining factor in the picture! Occasionally he spoke of “a little mess” that he carefully incorporated into his pictures.
Horst had photographed his famous study on the very eve of the coming catastrophe. “It was the last photograph I took in Paris before the war”, he later recalled, “I left the studio at 4:00 a.m., went back to the house, picked up my bags and caught the 7.00 a.m. train to Le Havre to board the Normandie. We all felt that war was coming. Too much armament, too much talk. And you knew that whatever happened, life would be completely different after. I had found a family in Paris and a way of life. The clothes, the books, the apartment, everything left behind. I had left Germany, George (Hoyningen-Huene, chief of photography of the French Vogue, who, in 1931 met Horst, the future photographer, who became his lover and frequent model) had left Russia, and now we experienced the same kind of loss all over again. This photograph is peculiar – for me, it is the essence of that moment. While I was taking it, I was thinking of all that I was leaving behind.”info the Mainbocher Corset: http://onlyoldphotography.tumblr.com/ . .
Men at Lunch
by Charles Clyde Ebbets / unknown, 1932
A famous black-and-white photograph taken during construction of the RCA Building (renamed the GE Building in 1988) at Rockefeller Center .
The photograph depicts eleven men eating lunch, seated on a girder with their feet dangling 256 meters (840 feet) above the New York City streets. The men have no safety harness, which was linked to the Great Depression, when people were willing to take any job regardless of safety issues. They probably had a plank floor just some meters below them. The photo was taken on September 20, 1932 on the 69th floor of the RCA Building during the last months of construction. According to archivists, the photo was in fact prearranged. Although the photo shows real construction workers, it is believed that the moment was staged by the Rockefeller Center to promote its new skyscraper. The photo appeared in the Sunday photo supplement of the New York Herald Tribune on October 2. The glass negative is now owned by Corbis who acquired it from the Acme Newspictures archive in 1995.
Formerly attributed to “unkown”, it has been credited to Charles C. Ebbets since 2003 and erroneously to Lewis Hine. The Corbis corporation is now officially returning its status to unknown although sources continue to credit Ebbets.
The same day, just a few hours later the photographer takes another picture at the same location, only this time the men on the girder are taking a break and resting.
Documentary: Men at Lunch
Taken in September 1932 during the construction of Rockefeller Center, the iconic image speaks to the American dream and the immigrant experience at the height of the Depression, with daredevil workers at ease in their natural habitat, 800 feet above the street. This 2012 documentary zooms in on the hugely popular picture, whose actual photographer and subjects remain a mystery. New research yields clues to their possible identities, though the universal nature of the image is such that many are inclined to believe their father or uncle is one of the fearless workers. As one scribe wrote, they “lived on the thin edge of nothingness.” Two percent of skyscraper construction workers died on the job, the film says, or an average of one man for every 10 floors. And yet despite the daily danger, the jobs were coveted because of their high wages at a time when work was scarce. The film defends the photo against claims that it is a fake, though it probably was staged, the film concedes. But that doesn’t detract from its authenticity. It’s one of those rare photos in which everything comes together, making it work on every level. Though this film is only 67 minutes, it does start to feel a little padded near the end, but it’s still a fascinating study of a uniquely American tableau.