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Edward Henry Weston
Fred R. Archer in approximately 1915
Edward Henry Weston
Edward Henry Weston

Edward Henry Weston

Country: United States
Birth: 1886 | Death: 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 forty-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 specially 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 stopped photographing soon thereafter. He spent the remaining ten years of his life overseeing the printing of more than 1,000 of his most famous images.

Source: Wikipedia

Edward Henry Weston was born March 24, 1886, in Highland Park, Illinois. He spent the majority of his childhood in Chicago where he attended Oakland Grammar School. He began photographing at the age of sixteen after receiving a Bull’s Eye #2 camera from his father. Weston’s first photographs captured the parks of Chicago and his aunt’s farm. In 1906, following the publication of his first photograph in Camera and Darkroom, Weston moved to California. After working briefly as a surveyor for San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, he began working as an itinerant photographer. He peddled his wares door to door photographing children, pets and funerals. Realizing the need for formal training, in 1908 Weston returned east and attended the Illinois College of Photography in Effingham, Illinois. He completed the 12-month course in six months and returned to California. In Los Angeles, he was employed as a retoucher at the George Steckel Portrait Studio. In 1909, Weston moved on to the Louis A. Mojoiner Portrait Studio as a photographer and demonstrated outstanding abilities with lighting and posing.) Weston married his first wife, Flora Chandler in 1909. He had four children with Flora; Edward Chandler (1910), Theodore Brett (1911), Laurence Neil (1916) and Cole (1919). In 1911, Weston opened his own portrait studio in Tropico, California. This would be his base of operation for the next two decades. Weston became successful working in soft-focus, pictorial style; winning many salons and professional awards. Weston gained an international reputation for his high key portraits and modern dance studies. Articles about his work were published in magazines such as American Photography, Photo Era and Photo Miniature. Weston also authored many articles himself for many of these publications. In 1912, Weston met photographer Margrethe Mather in his Tropico studio. Mather becomes his studio assistant and most frequent model for the next decade. Mather had a very strong influence on Weston. He would later call her, “the first important woman in my life.”

Weston began keeping journals in 1915 that came to be known as his "Daybooks." They would chronicle his life and photographic development into the 1930’s. In 1922 Weston visited the ARMCO Steel Plant in Middletown, Ohio. The photographs taken here marked a turning point in Weston’s career. During this period, Weston renounced his Pictorialism style with a new emphasis on abstract form and sharper resolution of detail. The industrial photographs were true straight images: unpretentious, and true to reality. Weston later wrote, “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.” Weston also traveled to New York City this same year, where he met Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Charles Sheeler and Georgia O’Keeffe. In 1923 Weston moved to Mexico City where he opened a photographic studio with his apprentice and lover Tina Modotti. Many important portraits and nudes were taken during his time in Mexico. It was also here that famous artists; Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Jose Orozco hailed Weston as the master of 20th century art. After moving back to California in 1926, Weston began his work for which he is most deservedly famous: natural forms, close-ups, nudes, and landscapes.

Between 1927 and 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 moved to Carmel, California in 1929 and shot the first of many photographs of rocks and trees at Point Lobos, California. Weston became one of the founding members of Group f/64 in 1932 with Ansel Adams, Willard Van Dyke, Imogen Cunningham and Sonya Noskowiak. The group chose this optical term because they habitually set their lenses to that aperture to secure maximum image sharpness of both foreground and distance. 1936 marked the start of Weston’s series of nudes and sand dunes in Oceano, California, which are often considered some of his finest work. Weston became the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship for experimental work in 1936. Following the receipt of this fellowship Weston spent the next two years taking photographs in the West and Southwest United States with assistant and future wife Charis Wilson. Later, in 1941 using photographs of the East and South Weston provided illustrations for a new edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Weston began experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in 1946 and in 1948 shot his last photograph of Point Lobos. In 1946 the Museum of Modern Art, New York featured a major retrospective of 300 prints of Weston’s work. Over the next 10 years of progressively incapacitating illness, Weston supervised the printing of his prints by his sons, Brett and Cole. His 50th Anniversary Portfolio was published in 1952 with photographs printed by Brett. An even larger printing project took place between1952 and 1955. Brett printed what was known as the Project Prints. A series of 8 -10 prints from 832 negatives considered Edward's lifetime best. The Smithsonian Institution held the show, “The World of Edward Weston” in 1956 paying tribute to his remarkable accomplishments in American photography. Edward Weston died on January 1, 1958 at his home, Wildcat Hill, in Carmel, California. Weston's ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean at Pebbly Beach at Point Lobos.

Source: www.edward-weston.com

 

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And whereas Eastern art dealt with symbols-mountains representing wisdom, water standing for the flux of life and so on- photography seemed unremittingly literal and heavy-handed to Asian eyes. Eastern art was also fixedly monochrome: black was Heaven's hue, and too much considered bad for the eyes. Three dimensions in two A further element foreign to Asian minds was the handling of perspective-how three-dimensional space was represented on the flat surface of a print or painting. In Europe, 15th-century thinkers, such as the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, showed that a geometrically accurate way to represent objects in space was to depict parallel sides as if they converged toward a vanishing point on the horizon. Early photography reinforced the dominance of this linear perspective in Western art. Classical Asian art was based on different models of space. It showed space with receding planes, in which a nearer object overlaps and covers part of a further object. This was joined to aerial perspective, which exploits how contrast and clarity naturally diminish the further away things are to express receding space. Asian pictorials By the 20th century. even artists in he West were rebelling against geometrical perspective, most visibly in the Cubist movement, which spilled over to montage effects in modernist photography (see pp. 142-43 and Pp.330-31). Finally, in the 1940s, Long Chin-San (also transliterated Lang Jingshan) in Hong Kong marked the first successful fusion of Asian with European modes. Trained in Photography by a brush-and-ink artist, Long considered a traditional painting "as a composite Image of fragmentary visual memories". From this, Long derived composite photographs using subtle toning and multiple printing techniques to place traditional elements such as calligraphically expressive bamboo shoots, leafless branches, and craggy rocks against a plain ground, suspending his subjects In an indeterminate space. Relationships between elements were defined by aerial perspective and overlapping receding planes. Minimal and calligraphic expressions also came naturally to photographers such as Jiang Peng, but Long's best-known students was Don Hong Qai. Modern interpretation China's Huangshan (Yellow Mountains) is a glaciated mountain range much venerated for its exquisite scenery of 72 steep peaks, often shrouded in mist. The Huangshan inspired its own school of painting, which made extensive use of aerial perspective, Wang Wusheng is a leading modern exponent of the style. Wang was working as a news photographer when he turned his attention to the Huangshan in 1973 In his photographs, he exploited the ultrafine grain of Kodak Technical Pan film to create a modern interpretation of inky-black silhouettes are grouped against the smoothly shifting swathes of mist, their softening tones deftly defining distance. This image is part of the Celestial Realm series, published in book form in 2005. In wang's contemporary interpretation of traditional Chinese black-ink painted landscapes, mist separates the deep velvety darkness of the sharply silhouetted rocks and trees in the foreground from the progressively fuzzier bands of trees and rocks.
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