This book will appeal to all of those who appreciate high quality reproductions of Edward Weston's finest works. Dunes, cypress, nudes, and portraits are all conjured up by the name of Edward Weston, and each is well represented in this gorgeous volume.
Before going into a description of this book, let me further caution those of you who do not know Edward Weston that he much favored nude photographs of women and had intimate relations with many women in his life which are described in Terence Pitts' interesting essay. If such things offend you, I suggest that you avoid this volume.
"Edward understood thoughts and concepts that dwell on simple mystical levels." -- Ansel Adams
It is appropriate that this volume contains some comments by Ansel Adams about Edward Weston. The two have many similarities in their work, and were friends. Both were attracted to the underlying grandeur of nature, and looked for the connectedness in all things (a sort of fractal-based perspective on unity). Weston was especially successful in integrating images of people with his nature images.
The works speak for themselves. "Edward Weston, contrary to so many now practicing photography, never verbalized on his own work." -- Ansel Adams
The potential for each of us from considering these images is very great from Adams' point of view. "You might discover, through Edward Weston's work, how basically good you are, or might become."
Edward Weston was formally trained to be a studio photographer, and soon sought to escape the limitations of doing commercial portraits. He was very skilled in this area, and there was always demand for his work. After 1930, he was able to stop retouching portraits which was a great relief to him.
Nature always fascinated him, and in the latter part of his life he was able to focus on the potential of his work rather than on eking out a living. In the 1930s he received the first Guggenheim Fellowship to travel for photography, and made good use of this to see locales he would not otherwise have reached.
Weston's influence is important in the 20th century for establishing photography as an art, rather than as representation.
Weston did his best work in California and Mexico, where he traveled extensively. I was also impressed with his industrial photography, which I had not seen much of before. He had an amazing eye for form in industrial settings and in designs of mundane objects.
The images here are well reproduced in almost all cases, and the size of the pages is excellent for the images involved.
Here are my favorites from the images in this superb book:
Sunny Corner in an Attic 1920
Ruth Shaw 1922
Armco Steel 1922
Lois Kellog 1923
Rose Roland, Mexico 1926
Cabbage Leaf 1931
Cypress Root, Seventeen Mile Drive 1929
Cypress Root and Succulents, Point Lobos 1930
Sheels and Hill, San Juan 1934
Dunes (5), Oceano, 1936
Iceberg Lake 1937
Juniper, Lake Tenaya 1937
Nude (#4 and #5) Oceano 1936
Dante's View, Death Valley 1937
Church Door, Hornitos, California 1940
Potato Cellar, Lake Tahoe 1937
Stonecrop and Cypress, Point Lobos 1939
I believe that a rewarding way to enjoy this work even more is to give yourself the equivalent of a Guggenheim fellowship for a shorter period of time, and visit many of the locales where Edward Weston produced these images. Take along your camera, and see what you can capture for yourself. It will increase your appreciation of what he saw, and the issues of capturing it for others.
Enjoy the beauty around you, in all of its natural forms.