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Of all the unnoticed works of art in nature revealed by Weston’s camera, it was the human form that most persistently challenged this great photographer throughout his working life. Erotic, sculptural and poetic, his nude photographs of lovers and friends, and of his sons, combine the essentials of physical passion with a desire to go beyond the transitory to a discovery of eternal forms.
Weston’s second wife and most important model, Charis Wilson, conveys in her remembrance of the years at Wildcat Hill in the Carmel Highlands the sweep of creative projects and the reflective, quiet loneliness of the committed artist.
Edward Weston (1886–1958) began to earn an international reputation for his portrait work in 1911. But it was not until 1922 that he came fully into his own as an artist, with his photographs of the Armco Steel mill in Ohio. During 1923–26 he worked in Mexico and in California, where he lived with his sons, turning increasingly to subjects of his own choosing such as nudes, clouds, and close-ups of rocks, trees, vegetables, and shells. On a Guggenheim Fellowship from 1937–39, he photographed throughout the American West. In 1948 Weston made his last photograph; he had been stricken with Parkinson’s disease several years earlier. On January 1, 1958, he died at Wildcat Hill, his home in Carmel, California.
“To Weston’s eye… the landscape of the human body was an unending revelation of forms both voluptuous and abstract. His genius as an artist lay in his ability to respond to both with equal passion.” –Hilton Kramer, The New York Times
“These are exquisite images…uncontaminated by the hundreds of proficient imitations and variations they have spawned.” –John Canaday, The New Republic