Sloop Clearwater

Seen here at dock in Beacon, NY.

According to the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater website:

In 1966, folk music legend and environmental activist Pete Seeger, in despair over the pollution of his beloved Hudson River, announced plans to “build a boat to save the river.” Seeger, along with many other concerned individuals, believed that a majestic replica of the sloops that sailed the Hudson in the 18th and 19th centuries would bring people to the river where they could experience its beauty and be moved to preserve it.

Seeger and friends played dockside concerts up and down the river, passing the banjo case for donations to raise funds to build the sloop. As an awareness of Seeger’s vision grew, so did the crowds. In 1969, the 106-foot sloop Clearwater was launched at Harvey Gamage shipyard in South Bristol, Maine. On her maiden voyage she sailed to South Street Seaport in New York City, and then ultimately made her home on the Hudson River.

Clearwater created the blueprint for many other groups to follow; Clearwater was the first environmental group to focus on an entire river and its ecosystem, the first wooden sailing ship with a mission to preserve and protect the environment, and the first onboard environmental classroom accessible to children of all ages, races, backgrounds.

Today there are several boats and organizations around the world doing environmental work and educating people using Clearwater’s hands-on method of teaching. It all started with a desire to clean up a troubled Hudson River and a vision for an iconic ship, and through song and determination, Clearwater has made a remarkable impact in the environmental movement.

Taken with a Sony A77M2 and Tamron A18 AF 18-250mm f3.5-6.3.

Flash. The making of Weegee the Famous

When I think of a press photographer from the 1930s/1940s a particular image comes to mind: Huge press camera with equally massive flash; fedora; rumpled coat; possibly a cigar. This particular image was largely created by Usher Fellig – later Arthur Fellig and eventually Weegee.

According to Wikipedia:

Weegee was the pseudonym of Arthur (Usher) Fellig (June 12, 1899 – December 26, 1968), a photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography. Weegee worked in Manhattan, New York City’s Lower East Side, as a press photographer during the 1930s and 1940s, and he 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. Weegee 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.


Weegee was certainly a fascinating, if somewhat eccentric character. He was a ruthless self-promoter (hence ‘Weegee the Famous’) who wasn’t afraid to stage a scene if it suited him. For example one of his most famous photographs, The Critic was certainly a setup.

His story is also rather sad. He seemed to badly want to transcend the type of street photography for which he was renowned, but was never able to do so. Towards the end of his life he ended up playing roles in ‘nudie cutie’ exploitation films.

It’s a fascinating story and well worth reading. Should Weegee be included in the pantheon of great photographers? Some of his photographs are certainly remarkable, but I’m not sure that I can really answer this question at the moment.

Flash. The Making of Weegee the Famous. By Christopher Bonanos.