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Through Another Lens: My Years With Edward Weston Paperback – June, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

Charis Wilson jump starts her recollection of her years with Edward Weston with a visit to Death Valley (where, as model and photographer, they made many of his most famous photographs) for the first time in nearly 50 years. From there she follows the flow of memory. Wilson was just 19 when she first met the 48-year-old photographer. Shortly after that first encounter, Weston jotted the following entry in one of his Daybooks: "I have not opened this book for almost 8 months--and with good reason; I have been too busy, busy living. I notice the last entry was 4-20. On 4-22 a new love came into my life, a most beautiful one, one which will, I believe, stand the test of time." Wilson remembers spotting a "short man in brown clothes" as she scanned a crowded room after a concert; he was Weston. Wilson soon became his model (she is the subject of more than half of his recorded nudes), then his lover, and ultimately his wife. Their relationship seemed to transcend that of artist and muse. The two worked alongside one another, she assisting him in the darkroom, he illustrating texts she wrote.

Wilson's memoir is filled with anecdotes about Weston's work methods and personal habits that his admirers will find delightful: Weston wore glasses to focus his shot, then yanked them off to view his subject so that each shot was achieved through a flurry of the glasses flying off and onto the photographer's face; he used a heavy tarp to transform the back of his Ford V-8 into a darkroom; he ambushed the sun, laying in the sand until it illuminated his subject just the way he desired; coated cats' whiskers with butter so they'd lick them, staying in one place long enough for him to take his shot; and had a penchant for foods that would revolt even the most iron stomached. These recollections combined with other details about their lives together, their friendships with Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Jack London and other luminaries and their work form a comprehensive if roseate view of Weston that is a substantial addition to what we know about the legendary photographer. --Jordana Moskowitz --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

When Wilson became Edward Weston's lover in 1934, she was 19 and Edward was nearly 50. She was his fourth (and last) long-term lover. They stayed together until their divorce in 1946; Weston died of Parkinson's disease in 1958. The author is most famous for her face and body; she posed for many of Weston's nude studies, which are among his most memorable photographs. She resisted Weston's offers to teach her photography and went to work at mundane jobs delivering mail and working in a fish cannery to meet expenses. After she left Weston (they remained close friends), she married a labor activist and had two daughters. This memoir, prepared with the assistance of journalist and illustrator Madar, is well worth reading for Wilson's candid memories of Weston's artistic motivation, influences, working habits, and temperament. It also lets us see some of her childhood in Carmel as daughter of an actress and a novelist whose family circle included Jack London, Sinclair Lewis, and Booth Tarkington. Recommended for photography and women's studies collections.?Kathleen Collins, Bank of America Archives, San Francisco
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Pr; 1st North edition (June 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865475393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865475397
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,163,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Charis Wilson reveals some sides of Edward Weston not previously published, and corrects some missimpressions that have been published. She is an excellent writer. Readers should recall that this book is a rememberance, not a spicy revelation; with that in mind, they should enjoy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas W. Kemper on January 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I went to a Edward Weston review in Washington D.C. many years ago. I saw a print of his picture of Charis sitting in front of the rock wall taken back in 1937 (Charis, Lake Ediza); I had to read this book. A first hand memoir of their time together written by Miss Wilson herself, I had to read it. I found the book a great read and it provided a ton of insight into the pictures I enjoyed so much ... when and where they were taken, what was going on in Edward and Charis' life at the time and so on. Like most May - December relationships, it seemed bound to end badly, but the truth is they had 10 wonderful, productive years together and, in my mind, that is just fine. If you enjoy the photography of Weston, Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham, you need to read this book. I promise you will enjoy it. I would have given it a fifth star if there were a few more of Weston's photos, although many are reproduced in the book. Get it and enjoy it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Charis (Kar-is) Wilson was long the companion and lover of Edward Weston. She met him at an early age (19 or 20) when he was twice her age. She proved not only a love force in his life, but she wrote much of his captions for his photographs. She tells her story in a frank and honest manner with some bit of humor. We really find out who she was and what she thought about being with one of the world's greatest photographers at the time. The book reveals new information about Edward at the same time we are finding out about Charis. A very good read which flows easily. Makes everyone want to drop life's stress, grab camera and head for Pt. Lobos and the art community of Carmel, CA
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