Edward Weston

Edward Weston was once obsessed with photographing “toilets” (his word) and did it repeatedly in pursuit of the perfect image. “That gloss enamelled receptacle of extraordinary beauty” is how he described the scuzzy lav at the Gold Circle Mine in Death Valley, and seemingly near-orgasmic with excitement, said it was “an absolute, aesthetic response to form”. That statement wasn’t about toilets alone, of course; this legend of American photography was, understandably, a perfectionist in every thing he photographed.


Very few photographers have left a legacy as rich as that left by the American Modernist, Edward Weston. He was one of the great photographic innovators, and is remembered for having pushed the boundaries of the medium to new levels. Weston was an artist who found beauty in everything, from a discarded pair of boots to a mountain range, and he helped see photography into its greatest period – when the camera’s mechanical clarity was at last embraced by artists, rather than smothered by artifice and hackneyed notions of the picturesque.

The 37 prints in this exhibition were made by Edward Weston’s son Cole, in the decades after his Father’s death, from the original negatives, and come directly from the family. These prints were made in small numbers, with both exquisite precision and the qualities that Cole knew his father demanded.

But he was also, during the early years of this collection of 37 prints (1920s to 1945), heavily influenced by the ideals of Modernism, and stuck close to its mantra, “Form follows function”. The lavatorial subject was not typical; he is best-known for the exquisite – and perfect – nautilus Shell, 1927, the erotically deformed Pepper, 1930, vast pictorial landscapes of Arizona and the female nudes.

Duration 08 September 2010 - 25 September 2010
Cost Free
Venue Chris Beetles
Address 8 & 10 Ryder St St James's London SW1Y 6QB, ,
Contact 020 7839 7551 / / www.chrisbeetles.com/about.htm

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