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Brett Weston

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.


 


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