Edward Weston Daybooks

A classic photo of a pepper by Edward Weston
Pepper No. 30 by Edward Weston.

 

Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.
Edward Weston

I Had just bought my first camera, a Minolta 201 with a late summer job paycheck and was showing some processed negatives to the high school camera club adviser and my teacher Dennis Pascoe.  They weren’t pictures of friends, landscapes, or high school sports; but black and white images of some vegetables I had found interesting.  He looked at the contacts for awhile, then asked if I knew of the photographer Edward Weston.  The answer was no, but his question changed the direction of my life.

Dennis went on to describe this photographer and further went on to describe his “Daybooks.”  He couldn’t lend me his because of “some of the images”, but told me that if I was interested I should find them in a library,  or buy them for myself His Daybooks were not in any library I searched and I soon forgot about Edward until next summer.  That summer,  when I was flush with a summer job paycheck and was looking for something to read to pass the time I saw the books and purchased them.

I bought the two books and took them to work that night.  My mind opened to the possibilities as I read through them.  I looked at and studied the images, including the nudes refereed to  by Dennis as “those images.”  My life changed;  it was okay to photograph vegetables, buildings and yes even nudes.

I made attempt after attempt to mimic his lighting of peppers, only to realize his exposures by the sun lasted hours and added to the lighting quality of his images.  I lusted to do platinum prints, but that would wait two and half years.  In the age before the Internet I spent time searching down and buying all books “Edward.”  I bought a enlarger that could print sheet film, although I didn’t have a view camera yet.  My free time was spent reading, wandering the streets of Toronto alone, camera at hand; or in my little darkroom, developing and printing.  My life had changed, the journey had begun.

No artist lives in a vacuum.  Follow me on Pinterest as I collect his and other great photographer’s work on boards.  I still have those battered Daybooks by Nancy Newhall and Aperture and I sense it is time to read them again.