Photography: The Life of Edward Weston

Essay by sardiddleCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2006

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Great American photographer, Edward Weston was born to Alice Jeanette Brett and Edward Burbank Weston in 1886. Weston began his life in Highland, Illinois, but spent most of his childhood living in Chicago. At the early age of five, tragedy struck when his mother passed away. After her death, his sister took on the role of the mother. As a child, Weston found school to be insufferable (Edward Henry Weston: Revealing more than the eye sees, 2004). In retrospect, he once said, "I cannot believe I learned anything of value in school unless it be the will to rebel (Edward Weston, 1999-2001)." Edward got his first taste of photography when he was sixteen years old. While on vacation in Michigan, his father sent him a Kodak Bulls-Eye #2 camera (Edward Henry Weston: Revealing more than the eye sees, 2004).

Weston spent much of his spare time taking photographs. Just one year after receiving his first camera, his photographs were exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago.

He enrolled at the Illinois College of Photography in 1908. In 1909, Weston married schoolteacher, Flora May Chandler, who bore him four sons: Chandler, Brett, Neil and Cole. In 1911, Weston graduated and moved his family to California. It was in Tropico, California (now know as Glendale) that he opened his first studio. Weston produced many images using the pictorial style of the times, which, although won him many awards, he later went on to renounce (Edward Henry Weston: Revealing more than the eye sees, 2004).

Although still married to Flora, Weston moved to Mexico with his lover and apprentice, Tina Modotti, a part-time silent film actress, in 1923. In Mexico, Weston continued to perfect his style. Modotti and Weston opened a studio there. The couple eventually parted ways because Weston was too committed...