As legend tells it, Arthur Fellig earned the nickname Weegee during his early career as a freelance press photographer in New York City. His apparent sixth sense for crime often led him to a scene well ahead of the police. Observers likened this sense, actually derived from tuning his radio to the police frequency, to the Ouija board. Spelling it phonetically, Fellig took Weegee as his professional name.
Weegee’s peak period as a freelance crime and street photographer was from the mid-1930s into the postwar years. Ceaselessly prowling the streets during the graveyard shift, he took thousands of photographs that defined Manhattan as a film noir nightscape of hoodlums and gangsters, Bowery bums and slumming swells, tenement dwellers and victims of domestic brawls, fires and car crashes.
During his career, Weegee took over 18,000 images, sometimes developing his photos in the trunk of his car or on subway platforms while he waited for the train.
And here’s a NY Times articles on him: Crime Was Weegee’s Oyster