Secrets of Edward Weston's Photography

we're driving with iconic photographer Edward Weston to his house in Carmel California where he lived and work we're meeting up with his grandson Kim a fine art photographer who specializes in nude photography Robert Scoble who helped me get my photography show started 10 years ago came along to shoot 360 video edward built his home in 1938 and used it as his home base to photograph from and work in his dark welcome to Edwards house it's sacred and I really I am such a fan is the right word I'm I felt like he was a mentor prize so many many people feel that way so and it's great to still have the house thanks to my dad who bought it from my uncle that we still preserve it pretty much how Edward Terry even though we've lived here 27 years my wife and our son but it's always been in the family so it's important to do it's not beca the history and sort of the depth of where photography was and where it is now it really and it's a great contrast to see how simply he lived you know yeah you know we sort of pushed that in his lifestyle no matter what it was but from his photography to how he lived built the house he and caris moved in so pretty much how you see it right today is how it was when they lived here stuff around the house we've collected of course this desk belong to my father tell me about the desk yeah it was Edwards desk and it was where he did a lot of writing so you know the day books a lot of the articles and stuff were written here you know sitting right here by hand or yeah all by hand the only things that we're here when Gina and I moved in was this chair and that table and so we've sort of added stuff I got the desk from my father and I just love it I mean people come from all over the world and have been inspired by my grandfather's work and just actually just sit in the chair they get goose I've actually had grown men cry when they go into his dark room it meant that much to so many people it's a piece of living history you know it's it's it's our family and I mean you think of a piece of furniture I mean it's in books it's been photographed it's it's but to see it yeah I'm going to have to say yes you have to you mentioned the camera oh yeah yeah the camera that's a Graflex and I actually had one like this yeah in my school we had this exact yeah and I used that camera when I was a kid well it's a great camera this is a four by five version the one that Edward used in Mexico was a smaller version two and a half by three and a half negative oh yeah and so a lot of the portraits he did the famous ones is pretty small yeah it's pretty small for him yes you know so a lot of the famous portraits of like Pierre Tina Diego Rivera a lot of it was shot with this smaller negative and what he did is he had Neil build him and enlarges only time Edward had a use for an enlarger okay and and he would take those two and a half by three and have negatives and make an 8 by 10 negative out of it that is amazing so that's the only time he ever used any larger because his vision was that 8 by 10 yeah you know he never changed that that was his framing that was his life yeah you know and also of course he did 4 by 5 which is a similar type of framing yeah but this camera allowed him to actually see his subject matter when he was photographing plus it's much more portable yes yeah and you can hand hold it he did a lot of news of Karass with that type of camera ok but the 4 by 5 version Kim I want to ask you something about you know I know he said there were no rules to composition right but nonetheless he had this uncanny ability to take everyday objects like we see pepper number three right and and bring the beauty out yeah the most famous one to me is the toilet in Mexico right right that is a it's like it takes a picture of the toilet right and it makes it look beautiful yeah but okay so even though he didn't have rules was her philosophy absolutely you know I think of any artist I call it their voice it's a language they're speaking exactly even though it's it's a photographic language and you not necessarily train yourself but he was so precise on how he frames something okay you know it was pleasing to him I mean and he was he was a master at composition absolutely and that was something you gained from working as long as he did mm-hmm you know my uncle Brett was the same way he had a vision a voice in a certain way he saw different than his father and we all do we all have that voice and he had that under believable ability to make a toilet look like a sculpture unbelievable right or pepper yeah our pepper let's go look at the pepper here tell me the story about that well this is pepper 30 yeah so presumably there were 29 before that yes there were this is 30 so I went up to 37 okay so there's a 1p a2p this this happens to be the one that became the most famous yeah and he ran into a problem with it with the view camera the closer you get to your subject matter your depth of field shrinks yeah and so his camera stopped down to f/64 so it wasn't enough to get that pepper all in focus because he was very close to it so he came up with the idea of making stops for his camera at 240 so basically a pinhole whoa and so so that was f 240 essentially that's a four to six hour exposure yeah yeah set the tripod up put the pepper just so happens this pepper 30 shot inside of a funnel and open up the shutter and walk away and was it natural light well natural light so the light was shifted during that time yeah during the day that's why it's so luminous yeah I never have heard that story yes phenomenal yeah it's great and and 2:46 our exposed four to six hour exposure yeah that's so a lot of those vegetables and and that series with those long exposures and of course this he did in in Carmel at where he had his studio and he would set up his subjects and you know they lived in a rickety house like this and a car or truck would go by and shake the house and then he so this is one and this was done in the 10th 20s and it's classic of that period yeah this sort of soft focus very theatrical very moody he and Margaret Mathur were working at the same time she's a photographer also his assistant also one of his lovers he did some great nudes of Margaret and really sort of jumped out of that pictorial period with her as a model before I even went to Mexico and you know they sort of contribute his stay in Mexico with all the Diego and everyone as a life-changer but I think it was really starting that even before he left you know there's some very beautiful sharp nudes of Margaret that he did before he left this is 227 m how many years are these apart so this I'm not sure exactly if this is 1919 this is 1936 so 227 News yeah 1936 okay and this is this is very interesting when this model of course is Kerris uh-huh very very famous nude that my grandfather did and when Karras was alive and she used to come down to the house and I always love to have her visit as you know she lived here you know and she would tell and she would tell little stories about this and what she didn't like about it is the bobby pins in the hair I didn't even I say yeah and the Edward was concerned about this shadow uh-huh but if you look at it the shadow is absolutely important is what it does is shrinks shrinks the image and lengthens her mm-hmm the shadow here and then of course the corresponding shadows there but yeah that's probably one of his most famous nudes he was all about form yeah yeah and do I remember who was it that introduced him to the shells as a four oh yeah that was actually started the whole pepper series okay was the shells yeah and that was Henrietta Shore there was a painter and a good friend of Edwards while he was living in LA he would go over and visit her and so he stopped by one day and she was painting these shells not all the shells right he was making paintings using them as a model so it's really interesting everyone thinks about how did it ever come up with this idea well from her from her you know and so he's asked to borrow him and he took him home and so that was done in 1927 he did his first the first frontal Nautilus which is one ass and that's when he found out that he had to have stops 240 but yeah she and so he was using that same yeah that's what I was doing 44 that long yeah so this sort of launched his whole everyday object of yeah and it came through you know what if he never would have gone by Margaret mathur's house you know what do you you know we all that's what I love about art we're all influenced yes you know and we take that influence and we tweak it you know he didn't paint these things you know the shells he photographed them right you know you know we do get influenced yes we are nothing wrong with integrating that into your own art for sure I mean think about it we wouldn't be able to speak if we weren't influenced absolute beginning of our influences listening to language to 27n here is not actually printed by my father it was fitted by Brett okay they took 850 of Edwards negatives this one Edward was alive but still the suffering from Parkinson and Brett printed in that our darkroom his darkroom here anywhere from seven to ten of 850 negatives took him six months to do and so they call those project prints and so if you see Edward Weston print that's initial DW uh-huh it's usually a project okay because he whenever did the Prince he signed it full signature so they weren't considered actual vinyl press they were I mean Bratt would print him in the darkroom which we're gonna go look at bring him out to the his father and his father would okay I see you know all it needs to be darker here lighter there whatever yeah still huge controversy about him Brett had a tendency to print a little bit more gutsy a little more contrast or yeah zip yeah but still they were printed well but listen every photographer he's gonna print yes any even photographers change oh yeah as you go along I when I develop my stuff I do it differently I did ten you revisit the scene yeah you know I'm constantly doing that and improving the print you know because it's a living thing well let's take a look at this darkly yeah let's go to the darkroom Edward greatly influenced me as I mentioned in the advancing your photography handbook in fact pick up a copy of it now if you haven't yet just touch the eye up there you know I bet you enjoyed hearing those stories about Edward Weston I'm still blown away by f 240 but don't go away we have our next episode inside his darkroom coming up so hit that subscribe button down there so you won't miss any of our shows I'd like to give a big thank you to Kim and Gina Weston for inviting us to their home be sure to check out his work and his workshops at Kim Weston comm we love it when you like us when you share and leave your comments thank you all for coming along on this journey and follow me on instagram and until next time remember to get out and capture your own images of life you

33 Replies to “Secrets of Edward Weston's Photography”

  1. You're blown away by f/240? I'm still shocked to learn of f/64 and the club of the same name. I feel as if you've now assigned me research homework. As usual, I find your videos very respectful and informative. Thank you for your work/art.

  2. This video inspired me to create an extreme macro homage to Pepper #30. Check out my 139 megapixel b&w image of a pepper here Thanks Marc for the great content and inspiration.

  3. Love that you inc. the B/W idea 👍 What a lovely video to stumble upon. Still blown away about the info of the pepper shot! Natural lighting, long exposure. I'm inspired to give that a try – well, at f22 anyhow 😁

  4. Wow! That was juts amazing! I was watching at the episode right under my print from the original negative from Weston's Tina, which is in my living room. I think she did saw some of the episode too 😉 I was in Carmel last year and never knew that was Weston's home just until weeks after I was there, I would love to take a look into Weston's dark room, but any way, I have juts seen it thanks to you.

  5. Just curious which f-stop, the f/240 would correspond to, in terms depth of field, on a full frame sensor – if anyone is able to figure that out?

  6. What a beautifully shot video, blending so well with the archive footage.
    I have stayed in that magical house and met the genial Kim, who showed me the darkroom and shared many stories with me. Anyone can! Here's the link:

  7. amazing video, I watched several timeს, a lot of interesting an useful information. you are doing amazing job, thank you

  8. I have to admit, I have never heard of Edward Weston before. Seems interesting though, I want to see more now. Thank you!

  9. Hi Mark:

    I am glad that you shot this video in black and white, included old video and captured this period in Weston's life and our local California history. Classic.


  10. Curious how Edward implemented ƒ/240 given the precise placement of the Ilex 5 iris blades. (Assuming he was using the 14" commercial Ektar) Any thoughts?

  11. Can you imagine, sneaking into one of the world's best known photographer's home ? Well there it is, for real 🙂

  12. What an amazing experience to visit the Westons! Stay tuned for the next episode in his darkroom!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *