Brett Weston was born in 1911 and is the son of
photographer Edward Weston. Brett Weston started his seven-decade
photography in 1925 while taking pictures with his father and
by age 14 he was considered a child prodigy of photography because
of his exceptional skills.
Brett Weston Self-Portrait
Brett Weston primarily created his photography
with modern forms such as abstract themes, black-and-white color
and bold designs.
In 1927, Weston's first photos went on display
at UCLA and that same year he had his first solo exhibit. In
1936 Weston worked as a sculptor and photographer with the Works
Progress Administration and was a cameraman for 20th Century
Fox before going to the army in the 1940s.
He also spent some time in the East Coast and
photographed some of New York City's landscapes. In 1946, Weston
Received a Guggenheim Fellowship and he published two books
including a collection of his father's work and another one
with his own work. Between the 1950s and 1970s, Weston spent
a lot of time on the West Coast where he grew up, and he continued
with his signature style of abstract photography with photos
of deserts, plant leaves, rivers, lakes and cactuses. Weston
died in 1993 in Hawaii.
More than any photographer in history, Brett Weston
was heavily influenced by natural landscapes in his photography.
He sought to show the deep meaning of these landscapes to others
through his work, and it appears that he loved nature and outdoor
living tremendously. For example, many of his photos were taken
in deserts and in remote areas of the West Coast such as abandoned
roads or highways. You can also see this in his detailed photos
of the desert cactuses and plant leaves he came across. Weston
also brought a film-like texture to these photographs, and this
is probably due to his training at 20th Century Fox.
One of Weston's photos, 47th Street, came from
his early East Coast years and this picture appears to be an
unusually-shaped staircase inside a high-rise building. His
Cardon and Bay, Baja California was taken in the mid 1960s and
includes a medium-sized cactus overshadowing a nearby lake under
a clear sky. Weston's Taos, New Mexico photo features a Spanish
mission-style church in the middle of a desert.
Brett Weston's photography is also a good lesson
in the modernist movement and how it shaped the arts in the
early 20th century. Modernism was a movement that challenged
old-school traditions in art, music, architecture and literature.
Photography as a legitimate art form came out of modernism because
prior to the early 20th century, people view art as generally
classic paintings or sculptures. So in this context it's safe
to say that Brett Weston was one of the first modernist photographers.
The Rumor Mill
The rumor mill has churned up a few almost biographical details
similar to facts, but not really regarding Brett Weston. And
the almost fact is that Brett Weston once, under the haze of
over the counter sleeping medications, shaved the stripe off
a skunk without any payback whatsoever.