Photography West Gallery

Brett Weston Room




Portrait of Brett Weston

Brett Weston at Point Lobos by Merg Ross



Mendenhall Glacier Mendenhall Glacier Mendenhall Glacier Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier, 1973




Brett Weston


About the Photographer

In 1925, long before photography was accepted as a ‘legitimate’ artistic medium, Brett Weston embarked upon a remarkable career that would span nearly seven decades. The thirteen year-old Brett began his legendary Modernist abstraction in Mexico under the proud eye of his father, the great photographer Edward Weston (who privately would often generously credit Brett with influencing his own work after that year). As some musicians are said to be born with an ear independent of their experience and training, Brett had been gifted with an ‘eye’. In 1927, the two began jointly showing their photographs and became artistic colleagues, with Brett not only at the wheel during camera trips (Edward never learned to drive) but also encouraging Edward to shed the older platinum papers in favor of richer tones available in silver halide and doing much of their joint studio darkroom work. By age 17, Brett Weston’s work was exhibited internationally in the "Film und Foto" (1929) a critical avant-garde venue between the two World Wars and had his first one-man museum show at age 21 at the de Young in San Francisco, a month after his inclusion in Group f64 exhibition - and the world had a glimpse of what was to come. The curator of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Van Deren Coke would later observe, "Brett Weston was the child genius of American photography." Reaching the end of his life, Weston would look back and muse, "my father was my biggest fan."

Brett Weston’s work ultimately became one of the defining poles of contemporary photography with its technical precision, bold design and extremes of abstraction and private imagination. The excitement and tension in his prints were Brett’s unique response to pure form: the vocabulary of line, volume, pattern and light and dark. It was this sensual response to form that defines his more classical European landscapes, taken in the 1960’s and 1970’s. A world away from the endless California horizons and soaring cliffs, these scenes from abroad feature beautifully modulated light and confined landscapes born from Weston’s expert technical command of the West Coast tradition of photography.

In Weston’s concluding photographs taken during the 1980’s, the abstract was resurrected but this time the playful and less orderly images of writhing reflections in skyscraper windows and the electrifying patterns of light on underwater figures captured his imagination. A final series of plant forms in Hawaii revealed a more mature language; as a sense of mortality and introspection entered the frame. It was as if Weston had begun to contemplate the limits of the ego, or of reason, still affirming the self, but with more awareness of death and chaos. But true to only himself, these images are often punctuated with elements of humor, and more irrational elements of design.

Brett Weston’s lifetime of devotion and total involvement with the medium produced a body of work and contribution to photography that many viewers feel ultimately surpassed his renowned father in sophisticated visual scope. Brett worked quietly more than three decades after Edward Weston's death to "take the work as far as I can" and brilliantly conclude the remarkable 90-year Weston Legacy (1903-1993). Brett Weston's intuitive visual genius has virtually no equal in the history of contemporary photography.


Brett Weston

Limited Edition 20x24 Photographs Masterworks I
Sand Dunes Masterworks II
Vintage Photographs Portraits of Brett Weston
Nudes - Underwater Weston Centennial Edition
Nudes - Studio Books
Abstractions I Posters
Abstractions II Notecards

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