A couple of years ago, I saw an exhibition of Brett Weston's photographs at the Museum of Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was my first time actually seeing his original work. I was pretty much floored. Did you know he was also a sculptor in wood? ("Wood carver" seems too trite a term.) Did you know his wood sculptures were based on the abstract shapes and shadows of his prints? A film accompanying the exhibition was interesting as well. Apparently he was one of those people who could do most anything he set his mind to do. He built the equivalent of a motorhome into a panel truck which allowed him to travel to remote areas and live in a self-contained manner while he did his photography. I regret that I failed to buy any of his books that were for sale in the museum bookstore at the time.
I don't beleave in comparing two great photogaphers with two differant styles, but AA was a more varyed photogapher then I think a lot peaple realize. At one point in his life he wanted to do some different type of photographs then he was known for. As a result, some of the most senitive steet phototagaphy I have ever seen.......discussion on art, San Francisco 1936,Trailer-camp Children,Richmond, California1942 Robert Howard,San Francisco 1960 to mention a few.
Apples and Oranges
DOnald I think what you are saying, says more about you as a person than it does about the two artists. You have changed as has your vision and the way you look at the world.
As to your question I would say that there is no way to compare the two. They really are as different as night and day. Adams once wrote to his father that the only way to interpret the what he saw and felt while in the sierras was to present the scene in a clean and sharp manner that did not leave anything blurred. To him the scene was beautiful as it was and with all of it's shapes and forms. He then set out to interpret the scene on the print to give a sense of what he was feeling at the moment while sticking to this vision. I personally think he did this very well in a way that I am unable to put into words. Like most feelings, they are there and they are indescribable. BW obviously saw the world in forms and lines, light and shadow. he did a really good job but his photographs do not speak to me at all.
I am an Ardent AA fan. I can take or leave BW's work. If I am going to look at a Weston's work it is either Ed or Cole. Contrary to what has been said I do not believe anyone has been able to present the natural world with a feeling as deep as AA was able to, nor do I agree he has been surpassed artistically, but that is my opinion.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
I suppose you could. Alternatively you could read it and enjoy it for what it is and what it was made for. If (natutrally, when) I make it as a photographic megastar, I would chastise people who stuffed prints into dark drawers etc rather than display them. After my death, I would haunt them. Be warned. This means the odds of being haunted by me is approximately 1000 million trillion to one. You've been warned.
Originally Posted by mikewhi
Apples with Apples - Abstracts
Why not compare apples with apples: who better portrays the abstract - Brett Weston, Aaron Siskind, Minor White, Paul Caponigro, Wynn Bullock ( love that tail light image on back of Lenswork), etc.? And what do you get/feel from viewing an abstract photograph?
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
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who better portrays the abstract
IMO, Aaron Siskind is the king of that style of photography.
how about Man Ray? Also, while I was at RISD this summer I saw some Siskind prints in person, amazing stuff! It 'moved' me to writing my final paper for Art History on one of his prints (it's untitled, but it's the one where there is a close up of a hand holding a fish, sardine, anchovie, whatever it's called) -Grant
Originally Posted by doughowk
I thought this site fit with this topic. Pretty interesting. -Grant
The thing that has always struck me about Brett's images is how meticulous he composed his images. Not just placement of subject matter, but the balancing of volume against open space, how the tonalities play off against each other in the print.
The great photographers have always had the ability to build an image that holds multiple layers of beauty and intrigue. Brett along with Siskind, Paul Strand, Wynn Bullock, Harry Callahan are such artists.
If you ever have the opportunity to see a print of Brett's Garapata Beach, 1954 Go out of your way to view it. It is one of the most beautifully composed and thought out images in any medium. It is nothing short of genius.
I think Adams had the ability to make magical images. But I think most of his stuff is basically greeeting card stuff. Of course I am probably jaded because i have seen his work in a million publications, callenders, posters etc, and seen a million images by people who have sought out his tripod holes.
But there are the ones that really grab me and hold on. Moonrise is one of them, but I think Mount Williamson, Manzanor CA ( the one with the boulder field in the foreground) especially has that mystical, lyrical quality.
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
I just joined and found this forum on my favorite topic: these old masters of the medium. I too would recommend finding a print of Garrapata Beach and spending a long time with it. It is, in fact, the very image that galvanized me 23 years ago into working in black and white. I had never seen anything like it before. Stopped me dead in my tracks. In my mind, no work of any medium surpasses the movement, space (negative and positive), light and form of this photograph. Even looking at it upside down is interesting, the way he would have seen it on the ground glass. First chance I got, I went down there (Carmel seacoast) looking for the same rocks. I think the big one on the left broke off and washed away years ago.
Anyway, thanks for your posting, and a chance for me to wax nostalgic about my favorite picture.