Sander/Weegee: Selections from the Side Photographic Collection at the Bluecoat.

Photography  Find clickable to the left my new favourite photograph, "Max is rushing in the mornings bagels to a restaurant on 2nd Ave for the Morning trade c. 1940", the highlight of a selection of photographs by Weegee, less commonly commonly known as Arthur Fellig, presently on display at The Bluecoat in Liverpool.

A snapper who worked prolifically in New York in the 1930s and 1940s, Weegee was in demand by all the major publications for is uncanny ability to be at the scene of innumerable crimes and incidents, his nickname a derivative of the Ouiji board his rivals assumed he must be consulting as he captured images of murder and fires ripping through city properties, and the faces of those affected, the horrors of all which are represented in this exhibition.

But it's those shots like this, of people simply existing, going about their business which are arguably the most effective.  How early in the morning was this taken, at what time of day did Max begin the business of supplying that restaurant?  He's emerging from a darkness most of us sleep through and it's a reminder that no matter how early those of us who work think we may have woken up ready for our day, the people who serve us our breakfast or operate the transport which takes us into the city, will have begun their day even earlier.

Accompanying them are the portrait work of August Sander, a German portrait and documentary photographer, whose collections such as People of the 20th Century offer a valuable record of German in society in the inter-war years, particularly in the 1920s.  At a time when our ability to store so much more artwork digitally and to some extent safely has ironically only gone to demonstrate what we lack, Sander is an example of the work which has been carried out to preserve what's left.  His book Face of our Time was seized in 1936, the photographic plates destroyed.  During the ensuing war he was able to flee to the country saving most of his negatives, but his studio was destroyed in a bombing raid.  That makes what remains all the more precious.

Sander/Weegee continues until 14th July.

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