Weston, Edward

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Weston, Edward

Edward Weston, 1886–1958, American photographer, b. Highland Park, Ill. Weston began to make photographs in Chicago parks in 1902, and his works were first exhibited in 1903 at the Art Institute of Chicago. Three years later he moved to California and opened a portrait studio in a Los Angeles suburb. The Western landscape soon became his principal subject matter. In the 1930s, Weston and several other photographers, including Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and Willard van Dyke, formed the f/64 group, which greatly influenced the aesthetics of American photography (see photography, still). In 1937, Weston received the first Guggenheim Fellowship awarded to a photographer, which freed him from earning a living as a portraitist. The works for which he is famous—sharp, stark, brilliantly printed images of sand dunes, nudes, vegetables, rock formations, trees, cacti, shells, water, and human faces are among the finest of 20th-century photographs; their influence on modern art remains inestimable. Weston made his last photographs at his beloved Point Lobos, Calif., during the decade from 1938 to 1948, the year he was stricken with Parkinson's disease. His second son, Brett Weston, 1911–93, and his fourth son, Cole Weston, 1919–2003, were both photographers in their father's tradition.

See The Daybooks of Edward Weston, ed. by N. Newhall (2 vol., 1961–66), The Flame of Recognition, ed. by N. Newhall (1965), and My Camera on Point Lobos (1968); N. Newhall, The Photographs of Edward Weston (1946); C. Weston, Edward Weston: Fifty Years (1973); G. Mora, ed., Edward Weston: Forms of Passion (1996); D. Travis, Edward Weston: The Last Years in Carmel (2001).

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