B. United States, 1886 – 1958
B. United States1886 – 1958
Edward Weston’s highly detailed, intimate portraits of semi-abstract nudes, landscapes and organic forms established his reputation as one of the foremost Modernist photographers in America. A founder member of Group f/64 alongside Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham, Weston’s preoccupation was the presentation of objective texture, rhythm and form in nature. Weston’s urge to render “the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh” can be considered as the beginning of a tradition of West Coast artists interested in psychological implications of surface texture continuing through to the work of Ed Ruscha and the Pop artists.
Weston would state his aim as “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”. For Weston, the camera could distil the subject to an elemental pureness, stripping away any painterly pretence.
Weston became the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1936. His work has been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries including a retrospective at Les Recontres D’Arles in 1970, and at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Huntington Library, California. His work is held in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California, the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C., among others.
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