Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Edward Weston - Still life Research

Whilst Researching Irving Penn Bing suggested that i look at Edward Weston. Upon looking at some of his images i was Drawn to his unusual flair for still life imagery. He was born in 1886 and the first images he captured were of the local parks and his aunts farm in Chicago with a bulls eye #2 camera that his father got him for his 16th birthday. He then moved to California briefly working as a surveyor and going door to door for every opportunity to build onto his photography career, photographing children, pets and funerals. saying this though, its more of his still life imagery that I'm more interested in;

When you search for Edward Weston this image will more than likely be the one that pops up in the search engine, Called simply Pepper this image is dated 1930. I admire the shapes that contour the pepper and the way its reflecting the light in a soft flowing texture, the composition is simple but effective and the pepper almost looks intimate like a couple embracing. The main focal point is the pepper but the top half is where you are drawn to even though the pepper is in the full frame.

Another Vegetable image but this time a different perspective. The choice of using black and white for this image is great because it make this onion look deceptive. The way this is composed gives an accurate look at how this grows both above and below the ground, The shape of the stem curves and almost looks like a flower coming from a seed whilst being soft, but the onion is rough and crinkled which gives this image texture and interesting patterns. I would say that this is lit with at least one light which is focused on the lower half as the light graduated into shadow as you look up the image.

The above two images i find interesting in two different ways, The cabbage leaf has a great texture and shapes within it but still has a soft feel to it, The lighting is probably from above and focused on the back as the light graduates as it reaches the front of the image. I especially like the composition and how he has chosen to just capture the one leaf rather than the whole vegetable. The top image shows obvious use of the rule of thirds. All 3 vegetables are in focus and my eye is drawn to the top half of the image even though this is the part of the image that has more shadow, This image makes me thing of trees and forests which i think is the whole composition.

Not only has he used vegetables in his still life work he has used flowers, which are common for still life artists. The top image is full frame with all four roses in full focus. The original colour of the roses could possibly be white as they are quite a dominant lightness within the edit. The natural shapes of the roses give texture to the images as a whole and the lighting is soft and subdued with almost no shadow which tells me it was caught in natural light. The second image is again black and white but for saying this type of flower is naturally bright and colourful, he has managed to retain the elegance of the flower itself. i like how this is two images of the same flower but from two perspectives, the main focal point of one is the shadow of the stamen and in the other its the actual stamen that is the main focal point. 

Without looking at a description of this image its quite confusing due to the composition. This is a shell but in an unusual perspective. The shapes within this image are flowing and natural where as the colour is again black and white. this is probably lit from the front again and with only one light.

The pepper image is a little different from all of the others because this time its lit from the side and the shadow is cast over the second half of the image, in doing this Edward has highlighted the shapes and texture of the pepper. The top image has also been lit from the side although its a lighter image which suggests that more than one light has been used. It has great use of colour even though its black and white you can still imagine the light and dark green tones.

This final image is completely different from all of the above images and it shows the pepper to be bright and loud, the hand coming from the soil is a little bit creepy but works well to put full focus on the pepper itself.


  1. Hi
    A strong blog with good analytical vocabulary that describes clearly what you are seeing in these images, this will then help you to construct your own still life shots.
    Can you look at your labels because at this stage they need to more through please. And of course you need to keep both themes afloat please.


  2. A lovely introduction to Edward Weston. Thank you

    I had a strawberry shot and a friend said I needed to look up Edward Weston and so here I am