• Born in Highland Park, Il
– March 24, 1886
• 16 years old when he received his first camera
– Kodak Bull’s Eye #2
• Moved to California in 1906 to pursue a career
• Married in 1909
– Flora May Chandler
– Together they had four sons
• Opened and ran his own studio in California from 1911-
• In 1922 he went to Middleton, Ohio, where his
photographs marked a turning point in his career.
• 1923, he moved to Mexico City where he opened yet
• 1926, he returned to California.
• After 1927, Weston’s main photographic subject were
nudes, landscapes, and still-lives.
• Best known for his carefully composed, and sharply
• In 1937, Weston was the first photographer to
receive the Guggenheim Fellowship.
– It was renewed the following year.
• Several books about his work have been
– In one, the text was written by his wife.
• He had developed Parkinson’s disease in
1948, making it his last working year.
• Died in January 1, 1958 at the age of 71.
On Weston's view, the peculiar, defining characteristics of photography include its remarkable capacity to render fine detail by
means of a microscopic mosaic of silver grains that cannot be reproduced by skills of hand. For Weston, the key to producing
aesthetically notable photographs rests on the photographer's ability to look at a scene and to construct a “pre-visualized”
image by imagining how the scene might be translated into a photograph. Weston places special emphasis on the difference
between ordinary seeing and “seeing photographically,” that is, constructing an image of the objects arrayed in front of the
camera in terms of the choice of lens, film, exposure, film development, and printing technique. Weston's position assumes
that photographs, when made by “purely photographic” means, are different in kind from other sorts of pictures and that
good photographs declare their independence from all other graphic media. For Weston, the difference between
photography and, say, painting is that when properly used, cameras introduce us to a domain that is unavailable to a
painter, and it is the exploration of this domain that constitutes the art of photography. While pre-modernist photographers
like Emerson and his followers saw the possibility that photography could become an art by aligning itself with the then
current values of painting and graphic media, Weston deplored the imitation of the practices of artists in other depictive
media and saw it as the major obstacle to the production of aesthetically valuable photographs.
Like all purist positions on photography, Weston's arguments are conditioned on suppositions that are impossible to warrant. For
example, he believed that so-called soft-focus lenses (lenses that cannot resolve sharp images) must be avoided because
they do not resolve detail in a way that he claimed is peculiar to photography, but of course such lenses are “purely optical”
and pictures made with them are no less pure than his favored creations. Viewed positively, however, Weston's major
achievement as a critic of photography can be found in his insistence on the difference between the objects placed in front
of a camera and the subject of a photograph. For him, the subject of a photograph depends on the way in which the picture
is formulated. If the formula is insipid and well known, it may well seem that there is an equivalence between an object
photographed and the subject of the picture, but if the fashioning departs from the most usual or ordinary response, the
subject of the picture may be a revelation of some aspect of the object photographed (or, for that matter, the subject might
be a relationship between items depicted in the photograph). Of course, the notion of revelation in art is anything but
revolutionary, but the thought that photographs might probe beyond the obvious, superficial aspects of what could be seen
in front of a camera was new and served as a fundamental element of modernist photography.
• Edward Weston had the ability to dramatically change
his photographic style half way through his career.
This is a picture taken late in his career after switching
from a soft-focused lens to sharp and hard edged
images. It is a very artistic picture showing texture in
the sandy mountains.There is also a very good
contrast in the shadows and
the darker parts of the mountains,
which happen to land on the
• Snyder, Joel, et al. quot;Photography.quot;
Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. Ed. Michael Kelly.
Oxford Art Online. 13 Mar. 2009
• Weston, Cole. quot;Edward Weston Biography.quot;
Edward-Weston.com. 11 Mar. 2009