Their First Murder
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© International Center of Photography

Weegee (Arthur Fellig)
American, New York City, October 9, 1941; print, about 1950
Gelatin silver print
10 1/8 x 11 in.

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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.

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Weegee's stamp