Artist of Influence

Edward Weston

Photography is a medium of Art using and manipulation a camera to produce images of reality or formal abstractions. A photographer’s direction, style or intentions is produced into images. Photographers express messages or issues through images. Edward Weston, a black and white photographer conveys his messages and issues through figure and form. I find Edward Weston influences me and my photography.

Edward Weston was born March 24th, 1886 in a Chicago suburb, Highland Park. Weston received his first camera at 16. His father gave him a Kodak box camera- a bull’s number 2. This camera was the beginning of his photography career. Edward Weston had his first publication. In the years 1907-08 he became a post card photographer in Los Angeles.

Weston’s main style of photography is based around figure and form. He created many different photographs within this theme, but they all linked together. Most of Weston’s work was created with natural objects or landscapes. Weston quoted: I get greater joy from finding things in nature, already composed, that I do from my finest personal arrangements. After all, selection is another way or arranging.” He believed that photographs need to be something complete, true and unique. Weston saw every photograph complete, even before capturing the moment. He never cropped a photograph; his respect for the photograph was too great.

Weston’s style of photography is closely related to my photography. I also use figure and form as a theme, and like to base my photographs within this theme. Fig. 1 is a photograph by Edward Weston. Fig. 2 is a photograph of mine. These photographs share similarity because of the form of the objects in the photographs.

Fig 1. Pepper No. 30, 1930 Fig. 2 Untitled

Weston used many techniques in his work. One of his most impacting and commonly used was light. Weston manipulated studio lights as well as natural light. He had done this by waiting for the right moment of the day where the sun fell. His ability and use of light is shown best in his series of work Oceano. Weston visited Oceano in California and he noted in his diary “I took a few photographs there of the dunes, which herald a new approach in my work. I must return there – the material is created for me.” Weston photographed the dunes tucked away in California over and over for precision. The dunes are constantly altered by wind and the surface of the dunes shaped by natural light, creating shadows.

This technique of lighting Weston uses is commonly used in my photography also. Fig 3. Is a photograph by Edward Weston, and Fig 4. Is a photograph of mine. Although Weston mainly uses natural light, these photographs show the ability to manipulate light, creating shadows.

Fig 3. Dunes, Oceano, 1936 Fig. 4 Untitled

Most of Weston’s series include some photographs with texture used. Most of the textures are natural, like the series Death Valley and Oceano. Texture is also used in my photography. However, it contrasts with Weston’s work. The main reason for this being the texture in my work is done with a grain in photo shop.

In the earlier years of photography, equipment was more limited. This means that Weston’s photography was manipulated in the dark room through longer and shorter exposures and dodge and burning. Weston work was all black and white. Weston’s and my photography share similarities as they are both black and white. Although my photography is digitally done I still prefer black and white images.

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