Edward Weston: The Last Years in Carmel Hardcover – 1 Jan 2001
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Seventy-six full-page plates represent work Weston produced between 1938 and 1948, when he lived in Carmel, California. The works were gathered together for a 2001 exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago (scheduled for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art during 2002). This late body of work is quite different from Weston's earlier work and ha
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The text is intended to humanize someone who is mostly mythical by describing and interpreting events in the last years of his life at Point Lobos. It presents the author's analysis of Weston's career, state of mind and the evolution of his late style. There is little or no new material here and the analysis is strained, but thoughtful.
There are some intelligent comparisons presented of Weston's late and early views of the same subject. As a collection this is not a good introduction to Weston. It is a good final chapter to the Daybooks and a beautiful collection of reproductions. It is also a good companion to Ansel Adams at 100, showing how these two friends viewed many of the same subjects so differently. It would be a good addition to reading Charis Wilson's Through Another Lens, showing many pictures of domestic life including Weston's children, cats, and many of Charis Wilson. There is a lot of "inside baseball" here, both explicit and implied.
There is at least one important image in the show that is not in the catalog and there are many important omissions from the show itself, which make this a poor place to start studying Weston's work. For the record, both Weston and Adams experimented with color in the late 40s, shooting the same images in color and black and white. The color images aren't good but they are a very good way to show why their respective monochrome images are so strong.
It is worth repeating that while the printed images are as good as any you'll see, they are not even close to the 8X10 contact prints in the show. This really matters in Weston's work. If you have a chance to see the San Francisco show, before it is put away for another 10 years, you will also see additional earlier prints from SFMOMA's outstanding permanent collection which put the theme of the show into context that is missing from the book.
This is Weston when he was only satisfying his own search for meaning, not making statements or presenting his vision to the world. These are his final meditations and he knew it. They are by far his richest and most abstract work and worthy of a lot of study.