Editor’s Note: This is an update of a profile written by Scott Bourne.
Edward Weston lived from 1886 until 1958. He was known to make the commonplace more wondrous and beautiful. He was one of the pioneers of modern art photography and was a contemporary of greats like Paul Strand, Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Margarethe Mather, and Georgie O’Keeffe. He was a member of the famed Ansel Adams’ F-64 camera club.
His work spanned nearly six decades and he was primarily known for shooting landscapes and natural forms such as shells and rocks. His work often received attention from Ansel Adams who said Weston was one of the “few creative artists.”
His photography world included a successful portrait studio in California but his work really took shape when he started shooting simple forms, landscapes and nudes. He also photographed for the WPA and was the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937.
One of the things I particularly admire about Mr. Weston is the fact that he battled Parkinson’s disease but still tried to make compelling images. I have had recent medical challenges of my own so I understand just how big an impact illness can have on your desire to make serious photographs. In Mr. Weston’s case, it did eventually stop him from making images, but his sons Brett and Cole went on to be very successful photographers in their own right and helped to protect the legacy of their father.
Some of his best work was done at Point Lobos, Ca. He also made amazing images of one of his muses – Charis Wilson.
To give you another reason to research the work of Mr. Weston, read one of his more famous quotes and one that has always intrigued me.
“Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual. Edward Weston”
I have no doubt that a serious study of Edward Weston’s photography will help improve your own.