Edward Weston Images – and Some Words
Just search for famous photographs and it would be very surprising if no Edward Weston images appeared on the first page. The image at the top of this post is one of the most recognizable photographs ever. Pepper number 30 as it is generally known, is simply one of the greatest photographs ever shot.
I would say to any artist: ‘Don’t be repressed in your work, dare to experiment, consider any urge, if in a new direction all the better.
Edward Weston – to Ansel Adams
Pepper, 1930 - Pepper number 30
Edward Weston’s Rejection of Pictorialism
Edward Weston found fame early. He received his first camera in 1902 and was showing at the Chicago Institute in 1903. 1922 represented the real turning point in Weston’s career though as this was when he renounced the sentimental pictorialism for straight photography, the precise rendering of what was in front of the camera.
To Edward Weston, photography was always work but that didn’t discount the possibility of pleasure.
Photography to the amateur is recreation, to the professional it is work, and hard work too, no matter how pleasurable it may be.” “The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.” “I cannot believe I learned anything of value in school unless it be the will to rebel.
He was all about accuracy and had a superb grasp of technique but it was not a matter of accuracy for accuracies sake. His approach was certainly not a detached one as he stated that he wanted to use photography to express a love of life. He saw the way to this expression as being through an accurate representation of nature.
To clearly express my feeling for life with photographic beauty, present objectively the texture, rhythm, form in nature, without subterfuge or evasion in technique or spirit, to record the quintessence of the object or element before my lens, rather than an interpretation, a superficial phase, or passing mood—this is my way in photography. It is not an easy way.
Pepper 1929 - 14P
This represented a deep rejection of the lie that is sentimentality, and its photographic incarnation pictorialism. Photographers were slow compared to painters to recognize that the sentimental is not a neutral force in art and philosophy but is a lie and therefore extremely destructive. Unfortunately the majority of today’s photographers are stuck in the pictorialist rut, wanting to catch a ‘superficial phase or a passing mood’ as opposed to a lasting truth.
The quote that really defines the modernist as opposed to the pictorialist view on photography is this one:
Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.
This gets to the absolute heart of what is still the biggest division among photographers working today. The fact that the sunset and scenery seekers are still in the ascendancy is a sad reflection on just how far photography still has to go to catch up to the other visual arts.
Abandoned Piano, 1941
Edward Weston Images and Reading
Edward Weston Images – Google Search
Search Image Magazine: Edward, Weston | Image Magazine Online
Weston Family Website
Edward Weston – Wikipedia
BookRags | Edward Weston
Guadalupe de Rivera, 1924