This dissertation sets out to locate the photographer Weegee (1899-1968) in the culture of the 1930's and 1940's. It argues that this culture develops as "popular" and widely democratic. The thesis finds Weegee to be practicing in a cultural moment moving on a trajectory of the "streamlined", and an expanding "mass- culture". The thesis investigates how Weegee participates in the culture of New York at the time. By looking at his involvement in finding motifs of "human interest" it finds that he takes on the characteristics of the Flaneur and the detective in the process. By counsciously searching "human interest", Weegee uses strategies that are "pictorialist" and "documentarist" as well as "pastoral", sharing in the wider photographic practice of the 30's. Futher the thesis argues that "human interest" also involves the grotesque and the macabre. This points towards finding how "the body" works as a cultural signifier and how it is used in a democratic project. The thesis finds that certain "motifs" or themes and modes can be forceful toools in this process, and possibly "melodrama" is a paramount "mode" that can include other popular forms such as "magical realism", caricature, the grotesque and the carnivalesque. The thesis explores how certain "modes" and "themes " are found in particular photographs by Weegee. Also the gangster is given particular attention, given his special role as an exclusively urban body, changes in his outlook coincides with general cultural change. His body is marked with mythologies and wishes. The thesis argues that the culture of the 30's and 40's is concerned with the carnivalesque. The dead body, not only that of the gangster is part of this , as the mass is seen as threatening identity. In relation to Weegee, this thesis will take the arguement futher and see how these issues present themselves in his production.