Fine art of raw beauty

By Chang Jun | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-07 07:59
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Nude and Fern, 2009, by Kim Weston. [Photo provided to China Daily]

At 21, he moved to California, where he started using his camera to capture the coarseness of people and places in the rugged American West. Many of his most famous images, more than 1,000 negatives taken by his 8-by-10 view cameras, applied lines, shades and texture comparison to depict trees and rocks on the wild plains.

One of his most well-known photos, Pepper No 30, which was shot in 1930, shows a green pepper seed in dense black-and-white tones, with strong illumination from above generating a 3D effect.

Edward Weston's creativity and his unremitting enthusiasm for artistic quality placed him among the most innovative and influential American photographers of the 20th century.

Although he died at his Wildcat Hill home in 1958 with $300 in the bank and his prints selling for $25 each, his Nude from 1925 set a Sotheby's auction record, going for more than $1.6 million, in 2008.

"My father, Cole Weston (1919-2003), was the fourth and youngest son of my grandfather," says Kim Weston, explaining how the color film that Eastman Kodak had sent to Edward Weston enabled young Cole to eventually become a "master of fine art color photography", besides carrying on his own portrait business.

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