Edward Henry Weston was born in Highland Park, Illinois on March 24, 1886. In 1902, he received his first camera for his 16th birthday, a Kodak Bull's-Eye #2, and began taking photographs in Chicago parks and at his aunt's farm. Weston... [more]
Edward Henry Weston was born in Highland Park, Illinois on March 24, 1886. In 1902, he received his first camera for his 16th birthday, a Kodak Bull's-Eye #2, and began taking photographs in Chicago parks and at his aunt's farm. Weston met with quick success and the Chicago Art Institute exhibited his photographs a year later, in 1903. He attended the Illinois College of Photography.
In 1906, Weston moved to California, where he decided to stay and pursue a career in photography. He married Flora May Chandler in 1909, and together they had four sons: Edward Chandler (1910), Theodore Brett (1911), Laurence (1914) and Cole (1919). In 1910, Weston opened his first photographic studio in Tropico, California (now Glendale) and wrote articles about his unconventional methods of portraiture for several high-circulation magazines.
1922 marked a period of transition for Weston. Renouncing pictorialism in favor of straight photography, he would later become known as the "pioneer of precise and sharp presentation" with images of natural forms such as the human figure, seashells, plants, vegetables, and landscapes. He began regular visits to Mexico with his professional and romantic partner, Tina Modotti, whose relationship with Weston caused much gossip in the media. They were often accompanied by one of Weston's sons, who received a sound instruction in photography. Brett and Cole later embarked on their own successful careers in this field; likewise his grandson Kim, and his great-granddaughter Christine Weston (born 1958).
After 1927, Weston worked mainly with nudes, still life — his shells and vegetable studies were especially important — and landscape subjects. After a few exhibitions of his works in New York, he co-founded Group f/64 in 1932 with Ansel Adams, Willard Van Dyke and others. The term f/64 referred to a very small aperture setting on a large format camera, which secured great depth of field, making a photograph appear evenly sharp from foreground to background. Weston also achieved great sharpness by not enlarging. He made contact prints from his 4x5" or 8x10" negatives. The detailed, straight photography that the group espoused was in opposition to the pictorialist soft-edged methods that were still in fashion at the time.