Why not Cole Weston?

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by mark, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. mark

    mark Member

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    I was lucky enough to see Cole Weston's final portfolio at the photo printers, when they were printing it. I have always considered him one of my personal favorites, not tat that means much but his color images are beautiful.

    You hear about his brother, his father and his son but not him. It is as if his work printing his father's stuff eclipsed his own work.

    Is it the fact that he is a Weston and used color that turned people's heads away or was he lost in his father's shadow because he continued to print his father's negatives.

    He just seems to be the forgotten Weston.
     
  2. jovo

    jovo Membership Council

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    I'm not sure he's been forgotten, but he has certainly been eclipsed. Perhaps his color work has been an obstacle....he uses much less saturation than more "popular" color photographers which makes his work a bit more subtle. In fact, looking just now at his monograph Cole Weston, At Home and Abroad I have the feeling that a lot of the 'graphs therein would have worked equally well in black and white. I also wonder if his consummate passion for acting and sailing mitigated against a more aggressive career as a photographer in his own right as I suppose the bulk of his living came from printing his father's work. In any case, he's certainly not been forgotten by me. I really like what I've seen of his stuff (albeit in books rather than "live".)
     
  3. Robert Brummitt

    Robert Brummitt Member

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    Being a color photographer myself, I would agree with you that Cole has been passed over and its a shame. His work along the California coast line has always been a source of inspiration to me. When I need a jolt from Black and white photography, I pull out my Elliot Porter and Cole Weston books then I get my cameras and go out and photograph. I also cruise over Charles Cramer's website.
     
  4. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    Cole is one of my favorite color photographers, and I'm a primarily color photographer. Kim's photography doesnt do much for me. Cole certainly eclipses Kim IMO.

    Wayne
     
  5. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    He hasn't been forgotten by me either. Famous Father: Son comparisons are inherently unfair and burdensome. I do think his work is superb.
     
  6. Merg Ross

    Merg Ross Member

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    Some good points have been made. I grew up around the Westons (Edward, Brett and Cole) and Cole lacked the dedication to his work that his father and brother had. He became the family spokesman and promoter of his father's work and thereby deprived himself of time he could have spent on his work. He not only printed from the EW negatives but also toured the world giving lectures on his father.

    Brett, on the other hand, was totally dedicated to his work. It came first in his life, and nothing stood in the way of his creativity.

    This is not to suggest that Cole did not produce some splendid work. In my opinion, he did.

    http://mergross.com/
     
  7. lee

    lee Member

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    I have two Edward Weston prints that Cole printed and they are of excellent quality.

    lee\c
     
  8. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    One of the first photographs I purchased was a Cole Weston, 16 x 20 dye transfer print of Bristlecone Pines. Still a beautiful photograph over thirty years later.

    I heard that one of the reasons that Cole was held in disdain was that the "art" photographers thought that he made overblown calendar art photographs.
     
  9. rcoda

    rcoda Member

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    I have two EW/CW prints, and two Brett prints. But I have to say, my favorite (print I have) is the Cole image of his father on the rock at Pt. Lobos.
     
  10. mark

    mark Member

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    Interesting Joe. By Calendar Art are you saying color? If so I guess I can understand, somewhat, but that seems to be the view of many toward color photography even now. It is too bad.
     
  11. Robert Brummitt

    Robert Brummitt Member

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    Color=calendar/poster art

    I would agree that color is sometimes regarded by the "Art" community as calendar art and black and white is the truer art. But, I find the buying public still approves of color with their wallets. In my home I support both.
    What I have found is that color prints have to be big and large to make an impact. Poster size. I don't agree with this but this is what I found from other photographers. BW can come in all sizes. I had one gallery person tell me this, "Color needs to be large to sell. The larger the better". I disagree and have always made my color prints small and intimate. My prints come in size from 4x5 to 11x14. I rather have someone hold my print close then have to see it from a hallway away. But I diverse.
    Cole was making a place for himself on two fronts. First, being the son and brother of two great photographers and second being the only color photographer amid all the rest of the Monterey/West coast photographers. Most if not all doing black and white photography. Talking about being the only port in a storm. I guess Cole had Eliott Porter to look to. But not many others. Today we have many more but Cole was a quiet leader in the field of color photography.
     
  12. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Cole was dedicated to his work, but even more so to the legacy of his father. He idolized Edward. He told me once that he moved to color in an effort to not be constantly compared with his father or brother. He was an extremely competent B&W photographer and I have a couple of his prints to prove that point.
     
  13. Merg Ross

    Merg Ross Member

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    Exactly my point above. The only time that I exhibited with him, his prints were black and white. Later, he concentrated on photgraohing in color. He was an excellent printer, of his own work and of his father's.