Edward Weston is one of the most recognized of all American photographers. He is probably most responsible for helping people to see photography as an art form.
Today, art experts consider photographers who took pictures like Mister Weston’s to be part of the art movement called Modernism. The kind of photographs Mister Weston took are called “straight photography.” No unusual effects were used to change the image of the subject. The photographs appear to show reality in a pure and clear way.
Yet, Mister Weston did not always use his camera to take pictures that way. At first, he took pictures influenced by the popular photographs of his time. Photographers, then, made pictures that did not appear sharp and clear. Instead, they appeared “soft.” They were similar to painted pictures that tried to be beautiful, not realistic.
Edward Weston was born in Highland Park, Illinois, in eighteen eighty-six. When he was sixteen, his father gave him one of the early cameras made by the Kodak Company. Edward soon showed some of his photographs at the Chicago Art Institute.
In 1906, Edward Weston decided to move west where he worked for a railroad company. He briefly returned to Chicago to study at the Illinois College of Photography. But, he soon returned to California. He married Flora Chandler in nineteen-oh-nine. They later had four sons.
Several important photographers he met in southern California influenced him. Imogen Cunningham and Margrethe Mather were two of them. Miss Mather worked with Mister Weston on several pictures. Miss Cunningham praised Mister Weston’s work. She gave moral support that led Mister Weston to seek out other photographic influences.
Edward Weston decided to travel to New York City in nineteen twenty-two. He wanted to meet the most influential American photographers in the East. He expected to be praised by members of the artistic community there.Alfred Stieglitz was the most influential photographer in the United States at the time. He was the reason for Mister Weston’s trip to New York City. He was responsible for a magazine called Camera Works. Mister Stieglitz helped many of the photographers whose work he liked, including Paul Strand and Ansel Adams.
Alfred Stieglitz met with Edward Weston two times. He did not say that he liked Mister Weston’s work. Mister Stieglitz would point to some parts of the pictures he liked. Then he would point to something he did not like.Edward Weston discovered an art community in New York that he had never imagined before. He met many people who, today, are recognized as important American photographers and artists. One of them was Georgia O’Keeffe.O’Keeffe became one of America’s most famous woman painters. Mister Weston saw some of her work in New York. He wrote that he would remember it for many years to come.
Edward Weston felt good about his visit to New York, although he was criticized there. He wrote to a friend saying that his artistic sense was changing. He said Alfred Stieglitz had not changed him—only intensified him.
The photographer Ansel Adams said that in the early nineteen twenties Mister Weston had a growing business taking pictures of people. Yet, he gave up his business and left his family to travel to a foreign land. In February of nineteen twenty-three, Mister Weston wrote, “I leave for Mexico City in late March to start life anew.”
Mister Weston travelled to Mexico with Tina Modotti. The two had developed a relationship in Los Angeles. Both were active in the artistic community of southern California. They spent most of three years in Mexico. At the time, many artists and writers were gathering in the Latin American country.Mister Weston depended on Miss Modotti a great deal. With her help, Mister Weston was able to experience a cultural life that was completely foreign to him. He could not speak Spanish, so she helped him communicate.For a time, the two had both a working and personal relationship. Mister Weston agreed to teach Miss Modotti photography. In return, she ran his photography business and helped organize shows