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11/20/2010

One year ago: Charis Wilson

November 20, 2010 |  6:30 am

Charis Wilson was a writer and model who for 10 years worked closely with Edward Weston, the famed art photographer and her husband. She died one year ago at age 95.

A free spirit who took up with Weston when she was 20 and he was 48, Charis (pronounced CARE-ess) Wilson posed for a number of his photographs, many of them nudes, but her involvement with his career went far beyond modeling. Wilson edited articles on photography by Weston and traveled extensively with him for his work.

One of these trips involved the making of the book "California and the West" (1940), which features nearly 100 photos of Western landscapes captured by Weston and described by Wilson.

The 28-year age difference between Wilson and Weston gave their romance "a Bohemian, May to December quality," photography dealer and historian Stephen White said in a 2007 interview with the Los Angeles Times. "Charis brought an essence of youth, when Weston was starting to wear out."

Their love dulled after a decade, however, and Wilson left Weston in 1945, divorcing a year later. She remarried and had children with Noel Harris, a labor activist who lived in Eureka, Calif. That marriage also ended in divorce.

Wilson wrote to Weston throughout her life despite their separation. At his request, she brought her children to see him just a few years before his death. She published a memoir in 1998 entitled "Through Another Lens: My Years With Edward Weston."

For more on the work Wilson and Weston produced, read Charis Wilson's obituary by former Times staff writer Mary Rourke.

-- Michael Farr

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