Master Of Photography: Edward Weston

Master Of Photograpy: Edward Weston
Edward Weston (photo by Tina Modotti)

Edward Weston was born March 24, 1886 and spent a large part of his youth in Chicago. Weston started taking photographs at age 16 when he received a camera as a gift from his father. This camera was a Bull’s Eye #2. Some of Weston’s first images highlighted featured the parks of Chicago and a farm.

Weston's first published photo was in Camera and Darkroom and after this Weston moved to California. After a few other brief jobs Weston went door to door photographing pets, funerals, and children. After this he realized he needed more formal training so in 1908 Weston attended the Illinois College of Photography in Effingham, Illinois.

After this 12 month course, which he completed in only six months, Weston went back to California to work in Los Angeles as a retoucher.

Several years later Weston opened a portrait studio in Tropico, California which would serve as his base of operation for the next 20 years. At this time Weston found success shooting a kind of soft-focus pictorial style which won him many awards.

After Weston visited the ARMCO Steel Plant in 1922 Weston renounced his previous style (Pictorialism). He went on to put new emphasis on abstract form and an emphasis on sharper resolution and detail. The industrial photographs were true straight images: unpretentious, and true to reality. Later that same year Weston traveled to New York City where he met legendary photographers Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Georgia O’Keeffe and Charles Sheeler.

The following year Weston moved to Mexico City where he opened a photography studio. Many of his most important works we're shot during this time in Mexico. Some of his most famous portraits and nudes came from this period.

Three years later Weston moved back to California and Weston began his work for which he is most know. That is, close-ups, natural forms, nude portraits, and amazing landscapes.

During the period from 1927 to 1930, Weston made a series of monumental close-ups of seashells, peppers, and halved cabbages, bringing out the rich textures of their sculpture-like forms.

Weston later became one of the founding members of the now famous Group f/64 with Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke, and Sonya Noskowiak. As most photographers understand the name of the group was chosen because they had an obsession with maximum image sharpness and depth of field.

Sadly Weston began experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in 1946. Only four years later he shot hist last ever photography of Point Lobos.

In 1946 the MOMA in New York featured a massive retrospective of prints of Weston’s work. Over the next decade of progressively deteriorating health, Weston supervised the printing of his prints. Finally on January 1, 1958 at his home, Wildcat Hill, in Carmel, California Edwarad Weston died. His ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean at Pebbly Beach at Point Lobos.

Documentary about Edward Weston:

Edward Weston: The Photographer 1948

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