Although revered for his vibrant still lifes and haunting California landscapes, Edward Weston spent the major part of his career, from 1917 to 1948, perfecting a standard of photographic portraiture that has rarely been surpassed. Weston's timeless images of the fascinating people who crowded the canvas of his free-spirited life—among them, Robinson Jeffers, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Tina Modotti, Igor Stravinsky, James Cagney, Lincoln Steffens, D. H. Lawrence, Carl Sandburg, e. e. cummings, and Dorothea Lange— comprise a startling 70 percent of the photographer's oeuvre.
In 1975, when the Museum of Modern Art organized their second show of Dad's work, they asked if I would give a lecture. I had never lectured about my father before, but I said yes to them. My idea was to talk about Edward Weston the man, not the myth.
In a life devoted to photography, Edward Weston mined an exacting visual language, a refined vocabulary of resonant forms and brilliantly rendered light. His now well-known images (photographed more than fifty years ago)—a writhing bell pepper, a female nude splayed like a starfish on the sandy waves of the Oceano dunes, the classically elegant lines of a young boy's naked torso—convey such a deep attentiveness and canny trust of intuition, they continue to disarm us.
1886 Edward Henry Weston born March 24, to Edward Burbank Weston and Alice Jeanette Brett, in Highland Park, Illinois. 1902 Begins to photograph, with a Bulls-Eye #2 camera, a gift from his father. 1903 Graduates from Oakland Grammar School and works for Marshall Field & Co., Chicago, for three years.