The First Murder

Object Details


The First Murder


Weegee (Arthur Fellig) (American, born Austria, 1899 - 1968)




Brooklyn, New York, United States, North America (Place created)


negative October 9, 1941; print about 1950


Gelatin silver print

Object Number:



25.7 × 27.9 cm (10 1/8 × 11 in.)


© International Center of Photography

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"A woman relative cried...but neighborhood dead-end kids enjoyed the show when a small-time racketeer was shot and killed," wrote Weegee in the caption accompanying this startling photograph in his 1945 publication Naked City. On the facing page Weegee showed the bloody body lying in the street.

Alternately laughing, staring in disbelief, or looking into the camera to grasp their own momentary chance to be recorded, the children who had witnessed this grisly scene form an unsettling amalgam of human emotion and self-absorption. Two women are among the group: one, whom Weegee mentioned above, stands at the center, her face contorted with anguished tears, her personal loss turned into public spectacle.

Persistent Themes: Notable Photography Acquisitions, 1985 - 1990 (June 5 to September 2, 1990)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), June 5 to September 2, 1990
Scene of the Crime: Photo by Weegee (September 20, 2005 to January 22, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 20, 2005 to January 22, 2006
Crowds and the American Imagination, 1890-2012 (October 17, 2015 to April 4, 2016)
  • Huntington Art Collections (San Marino), October 17, 2015 to April 4, 2016