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Edward Weston: The Last Years in Carmel Hardcover – June 15, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

During the last period of Edward Weston's work, roughly 1938 through 1948, he began to feel the effects of aging and of Parkinson's disease. He had returned to Carmel and Point Lobos, a place that had been the source of many of his most famous images. His (second) marriage to the much younger Charis Wilson was failing, his sons were serving in a war that closed Point Lobos for a time to Weston's photographic forays, and he was battling symptoms of depression, undiagnosed at the time. All contributed to a significant change in his photographic vision. His last landscape images were psychologically darker and less formalistic than those produced earlier in Carmel, and his nudes featuring Wilson were also more somber. After 1948, Weston stopped taking photographs but continued hosting friends and students until his death on New Year's Day, 1958. This is the first book to examine Weston's last body of work, so different from the images that made him famous. Travis, curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, demonstrates his considerable skill with this series of chronologically organized essays and 108 reproductions, published to accompany a traveling exhibit. The illustrations are excellent, as are the essays. Recommended for fine art and photography collections. Kathleen Collins, Bank of America Corporate Archives, San Francisco
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.


…his later pictures…are more complex and satisfying…. …the virtuoso performances of an artist totally confident in his mastery of form. -- The New York Times Book Review, December 2, 2001 –Andy Grundberg

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Art Institute of Chicago; 1st edition (June 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086559192X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865591929
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 11.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Johnson on March 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a catalog for a show currently at San Francisco MOMA, launched in Chicago last year. (Weston came from Illinois and did most of his work in California.) It is essentially a re-edition of Weston's My Camera On Point Lobos, published in 1951 and again in 1968. The major change is text by David Travis replacing excerpts from Weston's daybooks in the original.
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.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Neil Klemek on July 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Edward Weston was one of the most squirelly, yet most talented photographers in the history of the medium - he rarely smiled, wore women's clothes, never learned to drive, married a woman 30 years his junior, lived in a shack in Carmel and loved philandering with Tina Modotti and others. He died with $300 in the bank in 1958, yet his photograph of a Circus Tent went at auction a few years ago for $266,000. His influence on photography and photographers was immense. Two of his four sons, Brett and Cole, became accomplished image makers and his grandson now carries on that same tradition, even living in the same shack on Wildcat Hill in Carmel. This book covers roughly the last 10 years of his photographs 1938-1948. The images are superbly produced and well-chosen but the text was a bit overbearing and heavy on the theory that in the last years Weston was overly concerned with death which was represented in his images. Certainly his images of Point Lobos are a bit dark and morose with pictures of dead trees and pelicans, but that's Point Lobos! During this period he also made whimsical images of his wife wearing a gas mask in the nude and playing a flute while a cat looks on with a surprised glance. Weston was full of LIFE, not death. Thirty years before his death in 1958 he made an image of a corpse at a time when his relationship with his future wife was rosy and he was spending time with his beloved sons. His final work does not seem any more concerned with death than it was in his earlier years. But, forget the text! Photography books are similar to Playboy magazines anyway - we buy them to look at the pictures, not read the text!! This is a terrific book and I can't wait to view the actual images at The Art Institute of Chicago.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mojo Parker on June 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Not just a great presentation of Weston's last productive years, the essay by the Chicago Art Institute's Curator of Photography provides the best understanding to date of what it means to be a mature artist - and why it was that Weston was viewed by his peers, including Ansel Adams, Minor White, Imogen Cunningham as the consummate photographer, the proof that photography like other forms was capable of synthesizing interior and exterior realities into works of profound emotional and aesthetic power. A great contribution!
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By Javier F. alonso on September 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great photographs of a great artist. The images are gorgeous and the reproduction quality is great. I greatly recommend it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Lang on December 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A finely printed book that features more than the regular images that every other book has. The essay is a very worthwhile read. It offers wonderful insites to the photogrpaher at the end of his working career.A real must to any Weston colection of books.
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