Big Weston Retro at the Getty

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Sparky, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Anybody go to this..?

    I thought I'd take the opportunity to mention that there was a HUGE amount of weston stuff I'd never seen before - I was surprised by it too - since some of it, I thought, was much better than his more popular work. There were some VERY early platinum/palladium prints there too.

    I have to vent though too. My complaints are:

    the lighting level was WAY too low to be able to see into the shadows of most of the prints. It was VERY unfortunate!

    the docent leading the tour was (it seems) badly informed and dwelled on absurd, fictitious technical details - i.e. how weston needed to use 'close up filters' on his 8x10 camera to get the shot of the nautilus, etc... there was other erroneous stuff mentioned - but I found that the most egregious.

    all in all a great show - but I was mostly disappointed by the lighting levels.
     
  2. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    I saw it and met up with a few other apugers..I enjoyed it, thought the light level was far better than what I saw of his work at the Huntington a few years ago. I loved the early palladium stuff, though one friend commented on the flatness of them, I liked them as is...
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    i saw the work, but didn't see anything new that i hadn't seen before.

    the low lighting is to help protect the prints.

    too bad about the mis-information being passed around.
     
  4. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Hi Ann - clearly the low lighting serves that purpose. But I thought it made for a very poor representation of the work. Might as well have printed repros on RC paper - it would have been hard to tell the difference. I'm sure the prints were made with MUCH brighter viewing conditions in mind.

    I, for one, find photographs EXTREMELY sensitive to light levels.

    One thing that I found a bit suspicious - I was concerned that some of the work was mislabelled - there are some very warm toned prints in the 'mexico' room that were labelled palladium prints. I suspect they were something else (azo) as the level of detail was wayyy too high for palladium, I thought. Can anyone comment on this?
     
  5. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Sparky,
    The prints labeled as palladium were just that. These were done at a time when that is about the only printing process he was using. I have held some of these prints in my hands and cn vouch that they truly are palladium.

    Palladium can reproduce very high levels of detail. It depends on the paper used. At the time Weston was using it the paper was pre-coated. IN fact in one of the Daybooks he mentions getting a shipment of platinum paper while in Mexico.The reason for the variance in color, by the way, is that one company, Palladio if I remember correctly, produced 17 different surfaces and colors. Joan Myers has a set of their sample papers which I have seen.

    As for docents giving incorrect information - I stay as far away from them as possible. I have heard too many incorrect statements at a number of museums.
     
  6. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    I saw some of the Huntington work at the Barbican in London a few years back with Tina Modotti's Mexican work-fantastic and bought the book too, which is well worth a punt IMO.
     
  7. Richard Boutwell

    Richard Boutwell Subscriber

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    I saw the show about a month ago. For the most part, it was work that I know quite well, but there were some pictures that were new to me. Can't say exactly which ones though . . .

    While I was there, I was asking myself, aside from the simple enjoyment of looking, what could I really get from seeing more Weston exhibits, or buying more books? The answer came in the form of my parents' enjoyment of the show. They really didn't have a great understanding of what I do, or what led me in the direction I have taken, and this exhibition has cleared that up.

    The importance of these exhibitions, especially now, when so many young photographers don't have a real understanding of what can be done in a darkroom, is to inspire people with the fine craftsmanship and beauty of photographs made in that period. It also serves to educate new collectors or connoisseurs of fine photography when they are assaulted so often with what is contemporary.