Arthur Fellig’s crime scene pictures of murder victims from 1930s NYC4 min read

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Gruesome early 20th Century crime scenes of New York’s gangland murders by a legendary news photographer can be seen in color for the first time.

The unnerving shots by Arthur Fellig show the bodies of Robert Green and Jacob Jagendorf after a failed robbery attempt, a bloodied couple lying dead in bed, and a murder victim with a chalk outline drawn around him.

Other horrifying pictures show a man in a suit lying dead with his hat beside his head, the body of Antonio Pemear who was murdered in his residence and a close-up of a corpse’s bloodied and battered face.

This photo was taken on June 17, 1915, and called Double Homicide - but actually  depicts a bizarre murder-suicide. Barbara Cornelius, 25, was shot twice in the temple by her admirer George McAghon after he climbed into her first-floor apartment and surprised her about 1.15am. She struggled on the bed while on her knees until he shot her, then put another bullet in her head for good measure. McAghon then shot himself dead beside her, having been upset she had recently married. Her husband Carman was awoken by her screams but could not get to her in time

This photo was taken on June 17, 1915, and called Double Homicide - but actually  depicts a bizarre murder-suicide. Barbara Cornelius, 25, was shot twice in the temple by her admirer George McAghon after he climbed into her first-floor apartment and surprised her about 1.15am. She struggled on the bed while on her knees until he shot her, then put another bullet in her head for good measure. McAghon then shot himself dead beside her, having been upset she had recently married. Her husband Carman was awoken by her screams but could not get to her in time

This photo was taken on June 17, 1915, and called Double Homicide – but actually depicts a bizarre murder-suicide. Barbara Cornelius, 25, was shot twice in the temple by her admirer George McAghon after he climbed into her first-floor apartment and surprised her about 1.15am. She struggled on the bed while on her knees until he shot her, then put another bullet in her head for good measure. McAghon then shot himself dead beside her, having been upset she had recently married. Her husband Carman was awoken by her screams but could not get to her in time

The bodies of Robert Green, 30, (right), an elevator operator, and Jacob Jagendorf, 31, (left), a building engineer, lie at the bottom of an elevator shaft November 24, 1915, following the pair's alleged failed robbery attempt. Jagendorf was the building's engineer and came up with a plan to use his access to rob a company on the fifth floor that sold expensive silks, but the plan somehow went awry and they died. $500 work of silk was found inside the elevator

The bodies of Robert Green, 30, (right), an elevator operator, and Jacob Jagendorf, 31, (left), a building engineer, lie at the bottom of an elevator shaft November 24, 1915, following the pair's alleged failed robbery attempt. Jagendorf was the building's engineer and came up with a plan to use his access to rob a company on the fifth floor that sold expensive silks, but the plan somehow went awry and they died. $500 work of silk was found inside the elevator

The bodies of Robert Green, 30, (right), an elevator operator, and Jacob Jagendorf, 31, (left), a building engineer, lie at the bottom of an elevator shaft November 24, 1915, following the pair’s alleged failed robbery attempt. Jagendorf was the building’s engineer and came up with a plan to use his access to rob a company on the fifth floor that sold expensive silks, but the plan somehow went awry and they died. $500 work of silk was found inside the elevator

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Fellig was said to have been able to ‘predict’ crime and captured dozens of harrowing scenes under the pseudonym Weegee by following emergency services around.

The black and white crime scene photographs were painstakingly colorized by Frédéric Duriez, 52, from Angres, France.

‘I think that it’s is a haunting collection of crime scene photographs never meant to be seen by the public in color,’ he said.

‘I like how picture was taken, just above the character, this increases the dramatic side of the scene. It is by chance that I discovered these pictures on the internet, they seemed fantastic. I thought, why not colorize them.’

Other horrifying pictures show a man in a suit lying dead with his hat beside his head having been either shot or beaten to death. The photo was taken using a then-innovative technique of setting up the bulky camera on three wooden tripods to get an overhead view of the crime scene that was often far more startling and insightful than other angles

Other horrifying pictures show a man in a suit lying dead with his hat beside his head having been either shot or beaten to death. The photo was taken using a then-innovative technique of setting up the bulky camera on three wooden tripods to get an overhead view of the crime scene that was often far more startling and insightful than other angles

Other horrifying pictures show a man in a suit lying dead with his hat beside his head having been either shot or beaten to death. The photo was taken using a then-innovative technique of setting up the bulky camera on three wooden tripods to get an overhead view of the crime scene that was often far more startling and insightful than other angles

Fellig revolutionized photojournalism with his stark portraits of urban crime scenes, often shooting the aftermath of violent murders and horrific accidents.

The images captured the rapidly changing city that New York was in the decade before prohibition, which itself brought a fresh wave of violent crime.

Fellig worked on New York City’s Lower East Side as a press photographer during the 1930s and 1940s, and developed his signature style by following the city’s emergency services and documenting their activity.

Much of his work depicted unflinchingly realistic scenes of urban life, crime, injury and death. 

The body of Antonio Pemear who was murdered in his residence on Hudson Avenue, Brooklyn. His face was badly beaten and a pool of blood was clearly visible behind his head, next to a trail of splattered blood that may have come from one of the blows to his face. His shirt and jacket were pulled open and his trousers fitted loosely

The body of Antonio Pemear who was murdered in his residence on Hudson Avenue, Brooklyn. His face was badly beaten and a pool of blood was clearly visible behind his head, next to a trail of splattered blood that may have come from one of the blows to his face. His shirt and jacket were pulled open and his trousers fitted loosely

The body of Antonio Pemear who was murdered in his residence on Hudson Avenue, Brooklyn. His face was badly beaten and a pool of blood was clearly visible behind his head, next to a trail of splattered blood that may have come from one of the blows to his face. His shirt and jacket were pulled open and his trousers fitted loosely

He published photographic books and also worked in cinema, initially making his own short films and later collaborating with film directors such as Jack Donohue and Stanley Kubrick.

Fellig earned his nickname, a phonetic rendering of Ouija, because of his frequent, seemingly prescient arrivals at scenes only minutes after crimes, fires or other emergencies were reported to authorities. 

He is variously said to have named himself Weegee or to have been named either by the staff at Acme Newspictures or by a police officer.

Horrific injuries to a disemboweled boy in a shabby apartment was one of the more confronting images captured in this crime scene series, again laid bare by the tripod technique high above the child's body. The photo was originally shot in black and white but was painstakingly colorized by Frédéric Duriez, 52, from Angres, France, this year

Horrific injuries to a disemboweled boy in a shabby apartment was one of the more confronting images captured in this crime scene series, again laid bare by the tripod technique high above the child's body. The photo was originally shot in black and white but was painstakingly colorized by Frédéric Duriez, 52, from Angres, France, this year

Horrific injuries to a disemboweled boy in a shabby apartment was one of the more confronting images captured in this crime scene series, again laid bare by the tripod technique high above the child’s body. The photo was originally shot in black and white but was painstakingly colorized by Frédéric Duriez, 52, from Angres, France, this year