Edward Weston: The Flame of Recognition

Photographs by Edward Weston

Excerpts from Weston’s Daybooks and letters Edited and with foreword by Nancy Newhall Preface by Ansel Adams

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8 1/4 x 9 3/4 inches 112 pages, 64 duotone images Hardcover with jacket 978-1-59711-310-6 April 2015
The flame started first by amazement over subject matter, that flame which only a great artist can have—not the emotional pleasure of the layman—but the intuitive understanding and rec- ognition relating obvious reality to the esoteric, must then be confined to a form within which it can burn with a focused intensity: otherwise it flares, smokes, and is lost in an open bonfire.”

—Edward Weston, Carmel, California, April 7, 1930

This classic monograph, first issued as a hardcover volume in 1965, began its life in 1958 as a monographic issue of Aperture magazine published in celebration of Weston’s life. Drawing on a decades-long collaboration between the photographer and Nancy Newhall, Aperture cofounder and early MoMA curator, this volume brings together a sequence of images and excerpts from Weston’s writing in an effort to channel the photographer’s spirit of creativity and, in his own words, “present clearly my feeling for life with photographic beauty . . . with- out subterfuge or evasion in spirit or technique.” Now, fifty years later, Aperture is pleased to present a reissue of this volume, which covers the range of Weston’s greatest works, from the portraits and nudes to the landscapes and still-lifes.

Accompanying and amplifying the images are Weston’s own thoughts, excerpted from his now-famed Daybooks and letters. Others who contributed to the making of the book include two of the artist’s sons, Brett and Cole, and two other Aperture cofounders: filmmaker and author Dody Weston Thompson and photographer Ansel Adams, whose essay on the jacket offers a posthumous tribute to a remarkable artist and his oeuvre. A brief bibliography as well as a chronology offer further insight into the life and work of this giant of twentieth- century photography.

Edward Weston (born in Highland Park, Illinois, 1886; died in Carmel, California, 1958) began to earn an international reputation for his portrait work in 1911. From 1923 to 1926 he worked in Mexico and California, where he lived with his sons, turning increasingly to subjects such as nudes, clouds, and close-ups of rocks, trees, vegetables, and shells. On a Guggenheim Fellowship from 1937 to 1939, he photographed throughout the American West. In 1948 Weston made his last photograph; he had been stricken with Parkinson’s disease several years earlier.

Nancy Newhall was a photo historian, writer, and acting curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from 1942 to 1946, where she organized a major retro- spective of Weston’s work. She helped cofound Aperture in 1952.

Photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams was a founding member of Aperture and the famed Group f/64.