From Publishers Weekly
This lavish text-and-picture reconstruction of early-20th-century art photography icon Edward Weston and his work aligns him within the defining cultural dimension of the 1990s: human sensuality. "Weston's forms are nothing if not sensually motivated," writes Mora (Walker Evans: The Hungry Eye), the book's editor and one of five photography historians who here analyze unfolding phases of his artistic development. We are shown his commercial portraiture and pictorialism and the Stieglitz Photo-Secession, Group f.64's unmanipulated style, his "coherent whole" discovery in Mexico, an exploration and artistic transformation anew on Guggenheim grants and the pure-photography "eternalizing" and "objectification" of a universal subject, whether a seashell, a bell pepper ("reeks with sexuality") or the female form in seemingly limitless sensual variety. More than 50 nude studies are included.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Aperture. 1995. 96p. photogs. ISBN 0-89381-605-1. $40. PHOTOG Weston's (1886-1958) photographic career began in 1911 and ended in 1948, with the onset of Parkinson's disease. Beaumont Newhall called Weston the founding father of American photography; certainly his straightforward, modernist approach dominated American photography until well after his death. Of these two new books, editor Mora's is the more valuable for history of photography and fine arts collections. His survey presents Weston's life comprehensively and exhaustively than has been attempted in any of the numerous Weston monographs before. The essays offer biographical information and analyze the photographs in the context of what Weston was doing and thinking at the time. Mora (former editor of Les Cahiers de la Photographie) provides an introduction and discusses Weston's work in Mexico; other writers, all well-qualified curators and academics, discuss such topics as Weston's earliest work; his experimental work with nudes and natural forms; and the work Weston did under his two Guggenheim fellowships from 1937 to 1939 (the first ever awarded for photography). The book draws on two major collections: those at the Center for Creative Photography, which has the Weston Archives, and the Lane Collection at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. From about 10,000 images, the book shows 130, 25 percent of which have never before been reproduced. The photographs are arranged chronologically and are grouped to accompany the five essays. The illustrations are fine though not as rich as those in Aperture's Portraits. This serious, scholarly book, with well-written, engaging essays is appropriate for research collections and lay readers alike. Aperture's Edward Weston: Portraits is a less ambitious and more casual presentation of one part of Weston's portfolio, the portraits that earned his keep and comprise 70 percent of his work, according to the book jacket. In the finest reproduction quality, the most familiar portraits of famous artists, writers, and others who featured in Weston's life and work are presented in roughly chronological order. Cole Weston's one-page recollection of his father is warm and anecdotal. Morgan (contributing writer at Elle and Mirabella and author of Martin Munkasci, Aperture, 1992) contributed an essay that will appeal to the informed lay reader rather than to specialists in photography. Weston's life is sketched out, and Morgan tells us about the people who were Weston's portrait subjects and models. However, in contrast to Edward Weston: Forms of Passion, there is little analysis of Weston's developing aesthetic except those thoughts of Weston himself from his Daybooks, quotes from which accompany some of the photographs.?Kathleen Collins, New York Transit Museum Archives, Brooklyn
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.