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Edward Weston dies

January 2, 2008 |  8:26 am

Jan. 2, 1958
Carmel, Calif.


Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

Edward Weston, after receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937, when he was living at 4166 Brunswick Ave., Los Angeles.*



One of the greatest photographers of the 20th century receives a one-paragraph obituary in The Times. This is almost beyond belief. The next month, in a feature about a memorial exhibit at Barnsdall Park, Times art editor Arthur Millier offered a tribute to Weston:

I believe he taught two generations to see. Perhaps what I really mean is that he taught me to see. An exhibition of his photographs in 1924 staged by the local Japanese photographers opened my eyes. Everything his eyes saw had its special beauty.

The last time I saw Edward Weston, four years ago, he was shaking with Parkinson's disease. He could no longer work in his darkroom. He had finally yielded to the requests of the Eastman Co. to try out their newest color film. Film--and this went against his Thoreaulike grain--that he could not himself develop.

These color prints are not included in the Barnsdall Park show. But they are the finest color photographs ever made. He proved that photography is not just a matter of snapping a button. To be good, there must be an artist behind the lens.

Louis Clyde Stoumen made a motion picture designed to show people the world of Edward Weston. It's title: "The Naked Eye." This film, which should be shown soon, is the finest tribute yet given to the greatest artist I have known--Edward Weston.

Here's the photographer in his own words from 1928. Given his comments about the purity of photography and the evils of manipulating the negative or the print, I suspect he would have detested Photoshop.



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* This is so weird. Weston lived a mile from Caryl Chessman, 3280 Larga Ave.

Update: Although The Times reported at least twice that Weston lived at 4166 Brunswick Ave., finding this home is a bit of a challenge. The online Los Angeles street directory for 1938 lists him as living at 4102 Verdant, a block from Brunswick. Further research is clearly in order.