ChThere is a physical connection with the Weston image that isn't possible with digital. I really don't know if that makes a difference or not.
It makes a very big difference to me. To know that he held that paper in the developer, watched the image come up, and declared it good...it adds a real element to the whole experience. I couldn't really name it but it was there, I felt it.
Weston is my favourite photographer as well. I have never seen a real Edward Weston print in the flesh and I hope I get to see one before I depart this earth. I do have the Lodima Weston book which is suppose to be the next best thing and I must say it is outstanding.
I actually have the Lodima book sitting in my living room. I borrowed it from the library at work but I've purposely avoided looking at it until I saw the exhibit. From what I've heard though it's as close to the real thing as you can get.
I recently purchased from Freestyle, "The Daybooks of Edward Weston," published by Aperture.
Just getting into reading it and I find his thoughts very candid, just like reading a journal.
Reading the Daybooks before seeing the work really helps you to gain more when viewing the prints as you'll have read his thoughts and feelings when he made the images and that's a really rare thing. We often discuss technical details of images but the raw thought and feeling often stay locked up in us or morph into art-speak in an artist statement.
One of things that really gave my wife a new appreciation for some of the images like the peppers and swiss chard was when I told her that he wrote of not having a lot of time to work with some of these subjects that moved him so much because they were starting to turn a bit and they needed to eat them. They sustained him both artistically and physically. Having these insights really allow you to appreciate the work more fully.
about two years ago, i was reading an article about Weston in the paper and a co worker that was with me commented that he had one of his photographs once. long story short, once,he was asked by his sister to pick up a box with stuff that belonged to his father,and back at home,looking though the things with his wife, a black and white photograph of a palm tree came out. his wife decided to hang it by the bar, and a few weeks or months later,i don't remember that part, a friend came home and asked about the photograph and asked them if she could show it to a friend. they said yes. then they got a call asking them if they could take the photograph to new york. they said yes. then he got a call from new york, from one of the auction houses, informing him that it was a Weston, of course, and that they had a very interested buyer and if they wanted to sell it. they said yes again,this time with a big smile in their faces.
turns out that Edward Weston gave the photograph to his grandfather who used to live in Cuernavaca,where the photograph was made. he and his wife didn't had any idea who Edward Weston was.
I love stories like that. I surprised they don't happen more, especially with Weston because he ran a "Print of the Month Club" and you could get a print every month for $5. At the time that was a lot more money than it is now of course, but to think of paying $5 for a Pepper #30 is really mind boggling.
I saw Viva Mexico: Edward Weston and His Contemporaries show at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Herb Ritts Gallery in the fall of 2009. The 35 Weston prints on show were part of the Lane Collection, on long term loan to MFA, and also featured work by his young son Brett, Tina Modotti, Paul Strand, Alvarez Bravo et al. Weston's print of Diego Rivera in a black sombrero was just out of this world. To try to comprehend that he printed this work with extremely minimalist equipment - 3 print trays, a contact print frame and a light bulb (I have been in his old darkroom near Point Lobos) just informs us how much a master photographer he really was.
If you ever get the chance to see one of his shows - you will learn so much.
In the early 1970s, the art museum in Cincinnati hung an example of Pepper Nr. 30 for a time. After practically putting my nose in the print (I swear, it looked as if one could reach around behind the pepper-image) I sat down and could not stop looking at it. It kept me awed and intranced or twenty minutes or so. I could not leave it.
I was in Carmel-by-the-sea today and went to 2 different photo galleries. The first was the "Exposed Gallery". This gallery was showing Kim Weston B/W nudes on silver gellatin. There were about 15 prints in there and they were $900.00 per print unframed. Then I went over to "Photography West Gallery" and they have a Weston room with his prints. When I was leaving I asked about them and apparently only 1 of the prints was an original Weston and the other Prints were reproduced by his family. Original negative but a new printing. Also seen were original Ansel Adams and Ruth Bernhard prints and others also. Basically it's a lot to take in quickly and I was just stunned to see so much all at once. The Photography West Gallery does have some things that normal people can afford like sample prints, books and photo cards. I did walk out with a Edward Weston and Ruth Bernhard post cards. I have no idea what prints like this would cost but I am sure it's impressive. All around a great day. I am going back later next month to spend a bit more time there.
I saw an EW exhibition at the SF MOMA 7 or 8 years ago. It too was dimly lit. But the prints were still outstanding.
Made my stuff look like garbage. I've sharpend my eye and been more critical of my prints since then.