One of the most influential American photographers of the 20th century, Edward Weston has had a significant impact on the history of photography. His work was first published in 1906, and his career continued until his death in 1958. Subsequently, his negatives have been further printed by two of his sons, who became famous photographers in their own right.
Early in his career, Weston was based out of California. He had his own portrait studio in Tropico (now Glendale), California for two decades. He gained an international reputation for the work he produced in this studio. In California he was married to Flora Chandler and had four children: Edward, Theodore (Brett), Laurence, and Cole. In 1922 Weston took a trip that would change his photographic style significantly. At the ARMCO Steel Plant in Middletown, Ohio, Weston was engrossed in the industrial nature of the photographs he took. They were straight images, true to reality. Weston later wrote, “The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.” Weston also traveled to New York City the same year, where he met Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Charles Sheeler and Georgia O’Keeffe.
In 1923 Weston moved to New Mexico and opened a photographic studio. He took many portraits as well as nudes during this time. He became acquainted with famous artists like Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Jose Orozco. After moving back to California, Weston made a series of monumental close-ups of seashells, peppers, and halved cabbages, showing their sculptural forms through photographic means. He was one of the founding members of the Group f/64 (1932), along with Ansel Adams, Willard Van Dyke, Imogen Cunningham, and Sonya Noskowiak. 1936 marked the start of Weston’s series of nudes and sand dunes in Oceano, California, which are often considered some of his finest work. That same year, Weston became the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship for his more experimental work. Major museums like MoMA and the Smithsonian have exhibited Weston’s work in several retrospectives. After his death, the legacy of his work has grown, and he has been a major inspiration to many generations of photographers.