Paul Greenfield MFA, ARPS

Edward Weston (1886 – 1958)

Edward Henry Weston was a 20th-century American photographer. He has been called "one of the most innovative and influential American photographers..." and "one of the masters of 20th century photography." Over the course of his 40-year career Weston photographed an increasingly expansive set of subjects, including landscapes, still-lifes, nudes, portraits, genre scenes and even whimsical parodies. It is said that he developed a "quintessentially American, and especially Californian, approach to modern photography" because of his focus on the people and places of the American West. In 1937 Weston was the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship, and over the next two years he produced nearly 1,400 negatives using his 8 × 10 view camera. Some of his most famous photographs were taken of the trees and rocks at Point Lobos, California, near where he lived for many years."
Weston was born in Chicago and moved to California when he was 21. He knew he wanted to be a photographer from an early age, and initially his work was typical of the soft focus pictorialism that was popular at the time. Within a few years, however he abandoned that style and went on to be one of the foremost champions of highly detailed photographic images.
In 1947 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and he soon stopped photographing. He spent the remaining ten years of his life overseeing the printing of more than 1,000 of his most famous images.
Edward Westonwas a vital pioneer of Modernist photography, who helped elevate the status of his chosen medium to that of a revered art form. He was born in Chicago in 1886 and began taking pictures after receiving a Kodak Box camera from his father for his 16th birthday. He found early commercial success with a pictorialist style of image-making, using a soft-focus lens to create painterly portraits, but by the 1920s had adopted an increasingly experimental approach to his craft. In 1922 he took an arresting series of photographs of the Armco Steelworks in Ohio – widely viewed as his first Modernist feat – capturing its dark towers imposed against a bright white sky. A year later, he ventured to Mexico with his lover Tina Modotti, where he remained for the next five years, developing the radical stylistic traits that would come to define his later practice. This involved using a close-up lens and natural lighting “to make the commonplace unusual”, and saw rocks, clouds and plants rendered remarkably sculptural studies in line and texture.
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