Edward Weston
"Weston is, in the real sense, one of the few creative artists of today. He
has recreated the matter-forms and forces of nature; he has made these forms
eloquent of the fundamental unity of the work. His work illuminates manís
inner journey toward perfection of the spirit." --Ansel Adams, Date Unknown

Edward Weston (1886-1958) may seem like he was a confused man in trying to find
his photographic goal(s). Just like many other photographers, both of his time
and now, he strove to find what truly satisfied his talent and the acceptance of
himself. He generated something for all photographers. This was success and
recognition as a "grand master" of twentieth century photography. This was a
legacy that tells an interesting tale; it tells a tale of a thousand plus
successful and loved photographs, a daily journal, and a life with its ups and
downs and broad dimensions. He was born in Highland Park, Illinois, and thus he
was an American photographer. His mother died when he was five, possibly the
reason for his skipping out of his schooling. At the age of sixteen (1902), his
father bought him a Kodak box camera (Bullís-Eye No. 2). Soon he was saving
money to buy a better 5x& camera with a tripod. Taking photographs
interested and obsessed him. He wrote, "I needed no friends now. . .Sundays my
camera and I would take long car-rides into the country. . ." In 1906, two
things happened. First, a submission of his was printed in the magazine Camera
and Darkroom. This photograph was called simply "Spring". Secondly, he moved
to California to work as a surveyor for San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake

Railroad. From that time on, his interests lied in everything that was
unorthodox (astrology, the occult, nudism, vegetarianism, etc.). Maybe he never
was much of an orthodox type man or photographer. He went back to Illinois for
several months to attend the Illinois College of Photography. The inspiration
behind this was to show his girlfriend, a daughter of a wealthy land-owner that
heíd make money for them. He then headed back to California for good. This
lead to marriage in 1909 and to two sons soon afterwards. During this time,

Weston also became the founding member of the Camera Pictorialists of Los

Angeles. 1911: Began a portrait studio in Tropico, California. This studio would
stay open until 1922. Also 1911: He started writing articles that were published
in magazines. One of these magazines was called American Photographer. His third
and fourth sons were born in 1916 and 1919. Weston had always enjoyed
photography as an art, but, in 1915, his visit to the San Francisco Panama

Pacific Exhibition began a series of events that would lead him to a
renouncement of pictorialism. At the exhibition, he viewed abstract paintings.

These caused him to vow to capture "the physical quality of the objects he
photographed with the sharpest truthfulness and exactitude". Thus began a
dissatisfaction with his own work. In 1922, he traveled to Ohio and took
photographs of the Armco Steel Plant and then went to New York. There he met

Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Charles Sheck and Georgia OíKeefe. After that,
he renounced pictorialism all together. He often traveled to Mexico during the

1920s, and his photographs included nudes. One of these nudes, named Tina

Modotti, would turn into his own personal love affair, breaking up his marriage.

He made many photographs in Mexico. Some were published in the book Idols Behind

Altars by Anita Brenner. During this time, he also began to photograph
seashells, vegetables and nudes. In 1929, his first New York exhibit occurred at
the Alma Reedís Delphic Studios Gallery and later showed at Harvard Society of

Contemporary Arts. His photographs were shown along with the likes of Walker

Evans, Eugene Atget, Charles Sheeler, Alfred Stieglitz, and many others. In

1932, he became a Charter member, along with Ansel Adams, of the "Group
f/64" Club. The club was also founded that same year. The goal of this club
was to "secure maximum image sharpness of both foreground and distance". In

1934, Weston vowed to make only unretouched portraits. He strived to be as far
away from pictorialism as he could. In 1935, he initiated the Edward Weston

Print of the Month Club. He offered photographs for ten dollars each. In 1937,
he was awarded the first Guggenheim fellowship. In 1940, a book called

California and the West featured his photographs and the text of Charis Wilson
his new wife (not the nude, Tina Modotti). In 1941, Weston was commissioned by
the Limited Editions Club to illustrate a