Edward Weston began taking photographs at the age of sixteen and soon after had an image published in ‘Camera and Darkroom’. He moved to California, but soon returned to Illinois for further formal training, finishing his yearlong course in six months. He returned to California, working at professional studios prior to opening his own where he became well known for his portraits and modern dance studies.
His work reached a turning point when he visited the ARMCO steel works in Ohio; the images taken here show a greater focus on softer abstract forms and very sharp detail. Following a brief period living in Mexico, he returned to California and began producing some of his most recognized work of close-up shots of halved cabbages, shells and peppers, as well as a series of sand dunes and nudes from Oceano, California. In 1936, Weston was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work in experimental photography; this allowed him to travel within the United States for two years, ultimately resulting in images for Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The onset of Parkinson’s disease prevented Weston from taking images after 1948, but he supervised the printing of his work by two of his sons, which included a portfolio and major series.