Edward Henry Weston(March 24, 1886 – January 1, 1958) was a 20th-century American photographer. He has been called“one of the most innovative and influential American photographers…” and“one of the masters of 20th century photography.” Over the course of his 40-year career Weston photographed an increasingly expansive set of subjects, including landscapes, still lives, nudes, portraits, genre scenes and even whimsical parodies. It is said that he developed a“quintessentially American, and specially Californian, approach to modern photography” because of his focus on the people and places of the American West. In 1937 Weston was the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship, and over the next two years he produced nearly 1,400 negatives using his 8 × 10 view camera. Some of his most famous photographs were taken of the trees and rocks at Point Lobos, California, near where he lived for many years.
Photography suits the temper of this age – of active bodies and minds. It is a perfect medium for one whose mind is teeming with ideas, imagery, for a prolific worker who would be slowed down by painting or sculpting, for one who sees quickly and acts decisively, accurately.
— Edward Weston
One of his most famous works, titled Pepper No. 30, is a B&W photo of a single green pepper with beautiful, soft lighting. Here’s a fascinating, little-known fact about the piece: it was shot at an aperture of f/240 with an exposure time of 4-6 hours.
It is a classic, completely satisfying, ” a pepper ” but more than a pepper; abstract, in that it is completely outside subject matter. It has no psychological attributes, no human emotions are aroused: this new pepper takes one beyond the world we know in the conscious mind.
Even Weston’s approach to taking photographs was dictated by this philosophy:“In choosing equipment there were two points to be kept in mind:(1) that all money saved on general equipment would mean more film, more travel; and(2) that all time saved by simplifying equipment and daily procedure meant more time photographing.”