Edward Weston, an important representative of "straight photography", was born in Highland Park, Illinois, on March 24, 1886. He studied at the Illinois College of Photography in Chicago and married in 1909; four children were born of that marriage. In 1911, he opened a studio in Tropico, California. His photographs are strongly influenced by pictorialism.
The years 1921-22 marked a turning point in Weston’s work: on the way to New York, he took precise photos of a steel plant that moved him to reconsider his former aesthetic goals. Also in New York, he made the acquaintance of Paul Strand and Alfred Stieglitz, who demanded a new, "pure" photography. "I want to present pure beauty, as it can be produced by one lens so precisely, without the influence of an artistic effect," Weston summarized his new intent.
His photographs distinguished themselves from then on with a stinging sharpness, accuracy of detail and finely graduated tonal values. In addition, he experimented with daring perspectives. His subjects were to some extent strongly abstracted depending on the section chosen. With these tools, Edward Weston tried to reveal the essence of the photographed object.
Weston’s love life was turbulent: after an affair with the photographer Margarethe Mather, Tina Modotti became his lover. In 1923, he moved with her to Mexico City, where they opened a studio and moved in intellectual and artist circles. In 1926, he returned to the US. His favorite subjects during the time that followed were composed still lifes with shells, fruits and pebbles.
These still lifes comprise the high point of his work. His famous black-and-white photograph "Pepper" from 1930 reproduces the curvate forms of the fruit in their perfection in the finest tonal value gradations and makes a photographic work of art from this simple, everyday subject.
In 1932, Edward Weston was a co-founder of the group "f/64". Meanwhile, he lived in Carmel and concentrated on landscape photography. In 1937, he was the first photographer to ever receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. Ten years later, Parkinson’s disease forced him to end his career.
Edward Weston died on January 1,1958, in Carmel.