Edward Weston - Photographers, Family and Life

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Edward Weston's Personal Details

Edward Weston was an influential American photographer

InformationDetail
BirthdayMarch 24, 1886
Died onJanuary 1, 1958
NationalityAmerican
FamousPhotographers
City/StateIllinois
SpousesCharis Wilson (m. 1939)
SiblingsMary
Known asEdward Henry Weston
Childrens Cole Weston Brett Weston
Universities
  • Illinois School of Photography
Founder / Co-Founder
  • Versace Group
Birth PlaceHighland Park, Illinois
GenderMale
FatherEdward Burbank Weston
MotherAlice Jeanette Brett
Sun SignAries
Born inHighland Park, Illinois
Famous asPhotographer
Died at Age71

// Famous Photographers

Edward Weston's photo

Who is Edward Weston?

Edward Henry Weston has often been referred to as ‘one of the most innovative and influential American photographers’ and ‘one of the masters of 20th century photography’. After being presented a camera by his father at a young age, he soon made photography his passion. Much of his early photography can be identified as ‘Pictorialist’ style, meaning they imitated paintings. Later, he switched to realism and his photography produced true to life, unpretentious images. He traveled to Mexico, where he opened a photographic studio with his lover, Tina Modotti. During this time, Weston took a number of portraits and nudes for which he's known even today. Several Mexican artists of the time, including Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros and Jose Orozco began to admire his work. He returned to the United States, settling in California, where he continued to create—nudes, close-ups, natural forms and landscapes, among several other works. In the 1940s, he took several portraits of his family members that are now considered among his best work. The New York City's ‘Museum of Modern Art’ featured retrospective exhibit of Weston's work that included 300 prints. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he spent the last decade of his life assisted by his sons printing and publishing his work.

// Famous People From Illinois

Childhood & Early Life

Weston was born in Highland Park, Illinois, to Edward Burbank Weston who was an obstetrician. His mother, Alice Jeanette Brett, a Shakespearean actress, died when he was just five.

His sister Mary, older to him by nine years brought him up. Their father remarried, but the siblings did not share a very warm relationship with their new stepmother and stepbrother.

On his 16th birthday, his father presented him his first camera, a Kodak Bull's-Eye. He started taking photos all around in Chicago parks and also at his aunt’s farm and developed his own film and prints.

His started sending his works to the magazine, ‘Camera and Darkroom’ for publishing and in 1906 the magazine published his picture ‘Spring, Chicago’.

In 1907, he enrolled at the ‘Illinois School of Photography’. He finished the 9-month course in just 6 months. But he did not get the certificate as he refused to pay the full course fee.

Career

For some time, he was associated with George Steckel’s photography studio in Los Angeles. Later, he joined Louis Mojonier’s studio where he got acquainted with all the aspects of operating a studio.

In 1911, he opened, ‘The Little Studio’, in Tropico. For the next three years, he made portraits and wrote articles for the magazines ‘Photo-Era’ and ‘American Photography’, championing the pictorial style.

In 1913, Los Angeles photographer, Margrethe Mather visited his studio. They developed an intense relationship. He found Mather's uninhibited lifestyle irresistible and her photographic vision intriguing and asked her to be his studio assistant.

In 1915, he started keeping a detailed journal which he called his ‘Daybooks’. For the next two decades, he recorded his thoughts about his work, observations about photography and his interactions with friends, lovers and family.

In 1920, he met Roubaix de l'Abrie Richey and Tina Modotti. They were a part of the growing LA cultural scene. The latter became his lover and apprentice.

In 1922, the photographer visited the ARMCO Steel Plant in Middletown, Ohio, which was a turning point in his career. Quite contrary to his Pictorialist style, the industrial photographs were unpretentious and true to reality images.

In 1923, he moved to Mexico City with Tina Modotti and created many important portraits, nudes and still lifes, including the series of monumental heads, the portraits of Modotti reciting poetry and the ‘Excusado’.

Weston was one of the founding members of the Group f/64 in 1932 that sought to promote a new Modernist aesthetic based on precisely exposed images of natural forms.

In 1934, he met Charis Wilson and entered into an intense relationship. He moved to Santa Monica Canyon, California, due to financial difficulties and she joined as his assistant and quasi-agent

He began taking a new series of nudes with Wilson as the model. One of the first photographs he took of her, on the balcony of their home, became one of his most published images.

At Oceano Dunes, near Santa Monica, he captured Wilson in completely uninhibited poses in the sand dunes but exhibited only a couple of them. The rest he thought were ‘too erotic’ for public viewing.

In 1937, he was awarded the first Guggenheim Fellowship ever presented to a photographer.

He signed a contract with Phil Townsend Hanna, editor of ‘AAA Westway Magazine’ to produce 8-10 photos per month during his Guggenheim travels. His trip covered 16,697 miles in 197 days and produced 1260 negatives.

In 1941, he was invited to illustrate a new edition of Walt Whitman's ‘Leaves of Grass’. He and Wilson undertook the trip covering 20,000 miles through 24 states.

In 1946, his major retrospective opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 250 photographs were displayed along with 11 negatives. He sold 97 prints from the exhibit at $25 per print.

In 1948, he took his last photographs ‘Rocks and Pebbles’, at Point Lobos. Diminished in his capacity, he worked with his sons to catalog his images and oversaw the publication of his work.

Major Works

Nautilus’, a black-and-white photograph taken by Weston in 1927 of a single nautilus shell standing on its end against a dark background, has been called ‘one of the most famous photographs ever made’.

His 1930 photograph, ‘Pepper No. 30’, depicts a green pepper in rich black-and-white tones. By placing the pepper in a funnel opening, he could light it in a way that portrays the pepper three-dimensionally.

Personal Life & Legacy

A philanderer, Weston had intense relationships with many women— Margrethe Mather, Tina Modotti, Miriam Lerner, and Sonya Noskowiak. He got married twice, first to Flora May Chandler in 1909 and then to Charis Wilson.

From his marriage to Flora May Chandler he had four sons. The marriage ended after 28 years, mostly spent separately. Charis left him, after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’ Disease in 1945.

Trivia

This pioneering American photographer’s ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean at Pebbly Beach on Point Lobos. He had $300 in his bank account at the time of his death.

This photographer once declared, “Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual”.

// Aries Celebrities

Edward Weston awards

YearNameAward

Other

March 22
1937 - Guggenheim grant

Edward Weston biography timelines

  • // 24th Mar 1886
    Weston was born in Highland Park, Illinois, to Edward Burbank Weston who was an obstetrician. His mother, Alice Jeanette Brett, a Shakespearean actress, died when he was just five.
  • // 1906
    His started sending his works to the magazine, ‘Camera and Darkroom’ for publishing and in 1906 the magazine published his picture ‘Spring, Chicago’.
  • // 1907
    In 1907, he enrolled at the ‘Illinois School of Photography’. He finished the 9-month course in just 6 months. But he did not get the certificate as he refused to pay the full course fee.
  • // 1911
    In 1911, he opened, ‘The Little Studio’, in Tropico. For the next three years, he made portraits and wrote articles for the magazines ‘Photo-Era’ and ‘American Photography’, championing the pictorial style.
  • // 1913
    In 1913, Los Angeles photographer, Margrethe Mather visited his studio. They developed an intense relationship. He found Mather's uninhibited lifestyle irresistible and her photographic vision intriguing and asked her to be his studio assistant.
  • // 1915
    In 1915, he started keeping a detailed journal which he called his ‘Daybooks’. For the next two decades, he recorded his thoughts about his work, observations about photography and his interactions with friends, lovers and family.
  • // 1920
    In 1920, he met Roubaix de l'Abrie Richey and Tina Modotti. They were a part of the growing LA cultural scene. The latter became his lover and apprentice.
  • // 1922
    In 1922, the photographer visited the ARMCO Steel Plant in Middletown, Ohio, which was a turning point in his career. Quite contrary to his Pictorialist style, the industrial photographs were unpretentious and true to reality images.
  • // 1923
    In 1923, he moved to Mexico City with Tina Modotti and created many important portraits, nudes and still lifes, including the series of monumental heads, the portraits of Modotti reciting poetry and the ‘Excusado’.
  • // 1927
    Nautilus’, a black-and-white photograph taken by Weston in 1927 of a single nautilus shell standing on its end against a dark background, has been called ‘one of the most famous photographs ever made’.
  • // 1930
    His 1930 photograph, ‘Pepper No. 30’, depicts a green pepper in rich black-and-white tones. By placing the pepper in a funnel opening, he could light it in a way that portrays the pepper three-dimensionally.
  • // 1932
    Weston was one of the founding members of the Group f/64 in 1932 that sought to promote a new Modernist aesthetic based on precisely exposed images of natural forms.
  • // 1934
    In 1934, he met Charis Wilson and entered into an intense relationship. He moved to Santa Monica Canyon, California, due to financial difficulties and she joined as his assistant and quasi-agent
  • // 1937
    In 1937, he was awarded the first Guggenheim Fellowship ever presented to a photographer.
  • // 1941
    In 1941, he was invited to illustrate a new edition of Walt Whitman's ‘Leaves of Grass’. He and Wilson undertook the trip covering 20,000 miles through 24 states.
  • // 1946
    In 1946, his major retrospective opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 250 photographs were displayed along with 11 negatives. He sold 97 prints from the exhibit at $25 per print.
  • // 1948
    In 1948, he took his last photographs ‘Rocks and Pebbles’, at Point Lobos. Diminished in his capacity, he worked with his sons to catalog his images and oversaw the publication of his work.

// Famous American

Edward Weston's FAQ

  • What is Edward Weston birthday?

    Edward Weston was born at 1886-03-24

  • When was Edward Weston died?

    Edward Weston was died at 1958-01-01

  • Where was Edward Weston died?

    Edward Weston was died in Big Sur, California

  • Which age was Edward Weston died?

    Edward Weston was died at age 71

  • Where is Edward Weston's birth place?

    Edward Weston was born in Highland Park, Illinois

  • What is Edward Weston nationalities?

    Edward Weston's nationalities is American

  • Who is Edward Weston spouses?

    Edward Weston's spouses is Charis Wilson (m. 1939)

  • Who is Edward Weston siblings?

    Edward Weston's siblings is Mary

  • Who is Edward Weston childrens?

    Edward Weston's childrens is Cole Weston Brett Weston

  • What was Edward Weston universities?

    Edward Weston studied at Illinois School of Photography

  • Which company or organization was founded by Edward Weston?

    Edward Weston was the founder/co-founder of Versace Group

  • Who is Edward Weston's father?

    Edward Weston's father is Edward Burbank Weston

  • Who is Edward Weston's mother?

    Edward Weston's mother is Alice Jeanette Brett

  • What is Edward Weston's sun sign?

    Edward Weston is Aries

  • How famous is Edward Weston?

    Edward Weston is famouse as Photographer