Edward Weston


Uncompromising passion: The Life and Art of Edward Weston

Few photographers have created such a legacy as Edward Weston (1886-1958). After a decade of successfully making photographs with painterly soft-focus techniques, Weston became the key pioneer of the school of precise and sharp presentation, dubbed "Straight Photography." Through the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, Weston was a major force in pushing forward the art of photography. His photographs are monuments of sensual realism,...

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Uncompromising passion: The Life and Art of Edward Weston

Few photographers have created such a legacy as Edward Weston (1886-1958). After a decade of successfully making photographs with painterly soft-focus techniques, Weston became the key pioneer of the school of precise and sharp presentation, dubbed "Straight Photography." Through the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, Weston was a major force in pushing forward the art of photography. His photographs are monuments of sensual realism, perfectly composed images of stillness that sear with passion and intensity. Whatever the subject, be it a vegetable, landscape, shell, or naked body, Weston’s lens captures the essence of its life force, the fundamentals of its form.

Text in English, French, and German

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Few photographers have proven more influential than Edward Weston. After a decade of devotion to pictorialism, a movement characterized by its painterly approach to photography, Weston hardened the focus and endeavored to depict the world around him more precisely as he saw it. Whether pointing his camera at a pepper, a nude figure, a desert landscape, or New York City, he taught us, over the course of more than three decades, new ways of seeing. Edward Weston gathers the photographer's best work from the 1920s, '30s, and '40s into an excellent career overview.
Library Journal
Blossfeldt, Sander, and Weston all blossomed with the publication of their first books around 1930, were direct in their use of the medium, and rank among photography's defining masters. Yet they each had a unique style and focused on distinct subject matter, making their works instantly recognizable. These three books, part of a new photography series from Taschen, are sufficiently monumental to honor the artists' talents but still convey their singular talents. Germans Sander and Blossfeldt pioneered the "new objectivity" with their massive survey projects. Sander set out to document all of society in hundreds of portraits, typically titled "Country Farmer Dressed for a Funeral" or "Middle-Class Family." The influence of his style, stern yet eminently humane, is more present than ever in current photography. A prominent collector and photography writer, Heiting has made excellent work of a difficult task selecting more than 100 of these portraits for inclusion and augmenting them with lesser-known architectural and landscape photographs. Blossfeldt originally photographed plant specimens to help his students in art school with copying natural forms. But with the publication of Art Forms in Nature (1928), containing 60 of these photogravures, he was hailed as master and went on to publish two more acclaimed compendia. Adam, a photography writer, offers stunning reproductions of all the prints found in all three of Blossfeldt's volumes as well as the original essays from the time. The Weston volume will give readers a new appreciation of his almost abstract nature studies and nudes. Heiting has again chosen exemplary works from Weston's more diverse oeuvre, combining well-known signature pieces with unexpected images. Terrence Pitts, director of the Center for Creative Photography, has added an especially well-researched essay to accompany the selections. These books are all well done, but based on the popularity of their work in the United States, Weston belongs in all public libraries, Sander in medium and large public libraries, and Blossfeldt in all libraries with a serious interest in photography; the entire series would be at home in any academic institution.--Doug McClemont, New York Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783836544023
  • Publisher: Taschen America, LLC
  • Publication date: 4/15/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 496,012
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 11.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Manfred Heiting is an internationally acknowledged expert on and collector of photographs and books, who divides his time between Amsterdam and Malibu. He is a founder-member of the J. Paul Getty Museum Council and a member of the supervisory board of the Herb Ritts Foundation, both located in Los Angeles. He is editor of Deutschland im Fotobuch (2011) and co-editor of Autopsie: Deutschsprachige Fotobücher 1918-1945 (2012).

Terence Pitts is Executive Director at Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Iowa, and has organized numerous important exhibitions of historic and contemporary photography.

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Read an Excerpt

Edward understood thoughts and concepts which dwell on simple mystical levels. His own work -- direct and honest as it is -- leaped from a deep intuition and belief in forces beyond the real and the factual. He accepted these forces as completely real and part of the total world of man and nature, only a small portion of which most of us experience directly. As with any great artist, or imaginative scientist, the concept is immediate and clear, but the "working-out" takes time, effort, and conscious evaluations.

Edward Weston, contrary to so many now practicing photography, never verbalized on his own work. His work stood for him, as it does for most of us, as a complete statement of the man and his art. Edward suffers no sense of personal insecurity in his work; he required no support through "explanations," justifications, or interpretations. He was amused at the guff which was written and spoken about him, but he was nevertheless tolerant of the need of some people to struggle for the truth through complex involvements and slippery intellectual bogs. A frequent comment of his was "Well, if it means that to him it's all right with me."

I would prefer to join Edward in avoiding verbal or written definitions of creative work. Who can talk or write about the Bach Partitas? You just play them or listen to them. They exist only in the world of music. Likewise, Edward's photographs exist only as original prints, or as [sometimes] adequate reproductions. Look up his photographs, look at them carefully, then look at yourselves -- not critically or with self-depreciation, any sense of inferiority. You might discover, through Edward Weston's work, how basically good you are, or might become. This is the way Edward would want it to be.

--Ansel Adams
Excerpt from an article published in Infinity magazine in February 1964. © The Trustees of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust. Excerpted by permission of © The Trustees of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.

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