The Photos of Edward Weston

Modernist's Work on Display in Exhibit at California Library

Edward Weston 7 a.m.

hide captionEdward Weston 7 a.m.

Rondal Partridge, 1938/Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Charis, Lake Ediza, 1937

hide captionCharis, Lake Ediza, 1937

Read one of Charis Wilson's journal entries.
Edward Weston/Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents
Edward Weston: A Legacy

hide captionEdward Weston: A Legacy, Merrell Publishers

Available Online

Edward Weston was born in 1886 in Highland Park, Ill., and took up photography at the age of 16. His signature style was crisply focused images of organic subjects — including peppers, shells, trees and abstract close-up nudes. He is considered to be one of the great Modernist photographers of the 20th century.

In 1937, at the age of 51, Weston received the first Guggenheim fellowship awarded to a photographer. The fellowship allowed Weston and his assistant, Charis Wilson, to spend a year traveling through Death Valley and the West to focus full-time on landscape photography. Those photographs are at the heart of a major exhibition now at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. NPR's Renee Montagne reports on the exhibit.

Huntington Curator of Photographs Jennifer Watts said Weston never cropped his photographs: "He's really about finding the form in nature. Be it gnarled form in the stump of a tree, or clouds, and honing in on that in a clear, concise, framed way."

Weston died in 1958. After his death, Cole Weston, Edward's son, made prints from his negatives for about 40 years. In 1988, Cole Weston stopped printing his father's photos so that he could concentrate on his own photography. A provision in Edward Weston's will stipulates that no one else may make prints from those negatives. Cole Weston died earlier this year.

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