Edward Weston Essay

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The result is widely viewed as one of the century’s master works.

* * * Edward Weston is credited with fathering the movement known as Western straight photography: no staging, no contrived lighting, no cropping, no enlargement, no touch ups.

Weston began his career as a portrait photographer in Glendale, California, taking photos of starlets, families and bankers.

His early creative work was in the lushly romantic “pictorialist” style popular at the turn of the century: soft-focus, sentimental settings, atmospheric lighting.

He expressed little admiration for the photographs of Edward Steichen, Paul Strand and Steiglitz. Brett’s most important early contribution to the advancement of Edward Weston’s work was to convince him to shift from platinum/palladium prints to the silver gelatin prints that marked the best work of both Westons.

Brett also introduced his father on the erotic possibilities of vegetables, as seen in the remarkable 1930 photograph by Edward Weston titled “Pepper No.In 1923, Edward Weston left Glendale and his studio, running off to Mexico with Tina Modotti, the fiery Italian actress, who, under Weston’s tutelage, would become a photographer of the highest order.He abandoned Brett and his mother, Flora Chandler, who would soon divorce Weston.They show the influence of Rivera and Orozco as much as any other photographer.Later, Weston confessed that painters, especially the Mexican muralists, exerted more of an influence on his work than did other photographers.He spent much of his time collecting butterflies and meticulously preserving them and recording them by species and location, as he would later catalog his vast collection of prints and negatives. A few months later, Weston took Brett back to Mexico City with him. The real learning took place in the Weston house over the course of that year in Mexico City.He enrolled Brett in a sixth grade class in an English language school. At the center of the household was Modotti, Weston’s lover and apprentice, his muse and political tutor. Lawrence also came and went working on his great novel on life in Mexico, The Plumed Serpent.In Mexico City, Weston’s art underwent a dramatic transformation.His series of nude photographs of Modotti, lounging on a rooftop or on a sand dune, are images of stunning clarity, essays in lines and tones of the human form: sensuous and realistic at the same time. He was a rebellious youth and he didn’t handle his father’s split from his mother very well.He became belligerent with his mother, skipped school, and ran with a tough crowd.When Weston returned from his first trip to Mexico in 1924, he said that he found Brett on the verge of a life of delinquency.


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