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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Edward Weston truly deserved the tag of 'Icon' derived from the series title. He was the equal of Ansell Adams, who also deserves the accolade but whose works are largely controlled by a Trust that bears his name and probably not therefore available to this publisher, who was a generation younger and lived for about 30 years beyond him. The two both loved nature and, to some extent, could be interested by some of the same things. However, there were strong differences in their individual approaches and techniques.

Weston loved the close-up and could concentrate on a single, relatively small object - for example, he did a loose series on shells of which the cover image is one and another on ferms. Adams loved the grand landscape, including mountains, lakes and rivers, and trees especially within the Yosemite National Park and the coastline around the Big Sur in California. The terrain was rugged, remote and sometimes isolated which was what Adams loved most. Although Adams sometimes would include people in his images they were subservient to their surroundings, whatever they were, and most often there only to provide scale; they were never the prime subject. Weston also photographed friends and his occasional lovers, much as Picasso would do in his paintings, and produced some high class portraits, almost always outdoors, and some nude studies. Whatever his subject, he made the best of it.

Included in this book are examples across the full spectrum of subject matter of Weston's work including his landscapes, nature studies and close-ups, portraits, nudes, and even some industrial and architectural studies. They date from the immediate post-WW1 years through to his death about 40 years later. Some of his images show a nodding resemblance to those of Man Ray whom he knew quite well. Although I am familiar with a moderate number of Weston's images via several books, magazines and articles, there are many that are unfamiliar in addition to some that I know.

Taschen is one of a small number of publishers that can and do provide the highest possible quality in their books and offer the closest possible representation of the original print. Their abilities are such that they offer highly collectible 'Art Editions' of many of their titles that are produced in limited numbers and sell for thousands of euros per copy. Although this book is not of that calibre, or price, it is about as close to perfection as you will find and an excellent introduction to Weston, should you need one.

As Taschen is a German publisher, its titles are usually first issued in that language and later in French and English. There may, therefore be three parallel versions, each in a different language. Sometimes, it will combine all three versions into a single edition from the outset and include translations of the captions, where they exist or are needed, and whatever text elements it contains. Some may consider this an unacceptable compromise, but I don't mind unless the text forms a substantial proportion of the content, which it does not here; just a few pages for each language. In this book, the introductory section is not en bloc at the front of the book but distributed as if wholly different segments; the image captions are in all three languages.

If you are interested in nature photography and want an opportunity to see some of the best ever created, you will certainly find it here although the book is not limited to those alone. The images are all black and white, which was Weston's choice. This is a book of his photographs, but is not in any way instructional, other than by his example. There are other books of Weston's photographs, including at least one other that includes samples of most of the styles for which he was known, not solely his nature work. For a more instructional and modern approach to nature photography in colour, you could try titles by Heather Angel as a starting point, although her style and subject of priority is significantly different than Weston's.

As it stands, this book is a brilliant example of Weston's work and worthy of inclusion in anyone's collection.
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on 9 October 2017
Already have a larger version of this edition, but this smaller size makes it a GREAT travel companion
Weston IS the rock on which we all stand
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on 23 April 2011
Not a photographer I was familiar with so I wanted something simple and inexpensive, this was a good choice. Only four stars as the format was very small but the quality was OK.
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on 5 January 2017
prompt service looks in good condition bought for my husband he seems pleased
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on 17 November 2013
Fabulous Black and White photographs in a style that I particularly like. I have used this book a number of times each stirs me to woder at the composition and aestetical appreciation of Edward Weston.
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on 19 September 2014
Both thumbs UP!!
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on 25 March 2010
Fantastic and highly recommended!

Seriously refined and classic work. Seriously refined and classic Book! This is how you do it.
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VINE VOICEon 16 May 2004
This book will appeal to all of those who appreciate high quality reproductions of Edward Weston's finest works. Dunes, cypress, nudes, and portraits are all conjured up by the name of Edward Weston, and each is well represented in this gorgeous volume.
Before going into a description of this book, let me further caution those of you who do not know Edward Weston that he much favored nude photographs of women and had intimate relations with many women in his life which are described in Terence Pitts' interesting essay. If such things offend you, I suggest that you avoid this volume.
"Edward understood thoughts and concepts that dwell on simple mystical levels." -- Ansel Adams
It is appropriate that this volume contains some comments by Ansel Adams about Edward Weston. The two have many similarities in their work, and were friends. Both were attracted to the underlying grandeur of nature, and looked for the connectedness in all things (a sort of fractal-based perspective on unity). Weston was especially successful in integrating images of people with his nature images.
The works speak for themselves. "Edward Weston, contrary to so many now practicing photography, never verbalized on his own work." -- Ansel Adams
The potential for each of us from considering these images is very great from Adams' point of view. "You might discover, through Edward Weston's work, how basically good you are, or might become."
Edward Weston was formally trained to be a studio photographer, and soon sought to escape the limitations of doing commercial portraits. He was very skilled in this area, and there was always demand for his work. After 1930, he was able to stop retouching portraits which was a great relief to him.
Nature always fascinated him, and in the latter part of his life he was able to focus on the potential of his work rather than on eking out a living. In the 1930s he received the first Guggenheim Fellowship to travel for photography, and made good use of this to see locales he would not otherwise have reached.
Weston's influence is important in the 20th century for establishing photography as an art, rather than as representation.
Weston did his best work in California and Mexico, where he traveled extensively. I was also impressed with his industrial photography, which I had not seen much of before. He had an amazing eye for form in industrial settings and in designs of mundane objects.
The images here are well reproduced in almost all cases, and the size of the pages is excellent for the images involved.
Here are my favorites from the images in this superb book:
Epilogue 1919
Sunny Corner in an Attic 1920
Ruth Shaw 1922
Armco Steel 1922
Lois Kellog 1923
Rose Roland, Mexico 1926
Shell 1927
Shells 1927
Cabbage Leaf 1931
Cypress Root, Seventeen Mile Drive 1929
Cypress Root and Succulents, Point Lobos 1930
Bedpan 1930
Charis 1934
Sheels and Hill, San Juan 1934
Dunes (5), Oceano, 1936
Iceberg Lake 1937
Juniper, Lake Tenaya 1937
Nude (#4 and #5) Oceano 1936
Dante's View, Death Valley 1937
Church Door, Hornitos, California 1940
Potato Cellar, Lake Tahoe 1937
Stonecrop and Cypress, Point Lobos 1939
I believe that a rewarding way to enjoy this work even more is to give yourself the equivalent of a Guggenheim fellowship for a shorter period of time, and visit many of the locales where Edward Weston produced these images. Take along your camera, and see what you can capture for yourself. It will increase your appreciation of what he saw, and the issues of capturing it for others.
Enjoy the beauty around you, in all of its natural forms.
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on 13 July 2009
Whether you are familiar with Westons work or not this is a lovely book to own. Containing shots from throughout his career not only is it nice to browse through it can stimulate you to see the grace & beauty in the most mundane of daily objects. The text is very brief taking up only about a sixth of the pages so it's very much a collection of Westons work as opposed to a text book. In todays age of re-touched to the n'th degree images, this book reminds you that if you develop your eye the shot is right in front of you if only you take the time to look for it.
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