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collections > permanent collections > photographs > edward weston

Edward Weston
(American, 1886-1958)
Surf, Big Sur, 1930s, n.d., c. 1950s
Gelatin silver print, 10 7/8” x 15 1/4”
Gift of Steven and Rochelle Wilson (97.165)

Diverse subjects and mastery of technique are the hallmarks of Edward Weston’s work in Straight Photography.  Closely associated with California, Weston made many images of the coastal landscape, including Surf, Big Sur, 1930s.  With its emphasis on detail, especially the action of wind and water, the photograph recalls Weston’s famous assertion that “the camera sees more than the eye.”  The Museum’s print is believed to have been made in the 1950s, when the aged Weston, no longer actively taking photographs, was absorbed in the major project of reprinting the highlights of his life’s work.

A native of Chicago, Weston moved to California as a young man.  Already strongly inclined toward a career in photography, he studied in Illinois and Los Angeles before opening his own studio in 1911.  By the early 1920s, he had turned from his early Pictorialist mode to the Straight Photography for which he became renowned.  His reputation increased during the following decade, during which time he founded Group f/64 with Ansel Adams and became the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship.  The artist reached the height of his career during the early 1940s, but was gradually incapacitated by the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.  He spent most of his later life overseeing the printing of his earlier work, dying in California in 1958.