There are lots of anecdotes about his methodology by contemporaries. Some of the more interesting ones are by AA, who inevitably had to
contrast his own compartmentalized zone system to Weston's shrug of the shoulders voodoo approach, but really based upon experience and intuition. In the darkroom he was more of an alchemist than a chemist. Whatever worked. And there is some reason to believe that his habitual carelessness with pyro might have been what led to his Parkinson's disease. He never seemed obsessed with equipment. He couldn't afford to be.
Almost done with his Mexico daybooks, i swear, i can't finish it, because it makes me stop what i'm doing (reading) or have planned and go shoot. It's both funny and somewhat insightful, not on his technique, but on what makes a great photographer... practice, patience, and devoted. He was so poor, his wife sent him money, while he had his eldest son in Mexico, while being with his mistress (Tina).
Suffice it to say, his devotion paid off.
I cannot stress how many times he mentions making his best print to date.
He was always excited, and even through mistakes, he clearly learned, and devoted himself to a better negative next time. he made many rookie mistakes, ones that we can only appreciate from doing ourselves. His knowledge was learned a posteriori (learned through experience).
I've got one of those old Weston meters - a hand-me-down, and it still works, though I never use it. However, I can certainly visualize EW
pointing it one way then another, just as in the stories, scratching his head, and then basically winging it.
Edward Weston died 56 years ago this morning in Carmel. I was with Brett that morning, and the remainder of the day, while he was at our home in Berkeley. I had been photographing for about five years at the time, and had the wonderful experience of sharing my photographs with Edward. It was a sad day, but one I reflect upon at each passing anniversary. Thank you, father and son, for enriching my life, and those of so many others.
Thanks for sharing that, Merg. Other than a note from Brett long ago, I had no personal contact with the clan, but learned a lot of things from
a mutual family friend. I'd stick around Carmel just long enough for my official openings, then head off down the coast for shooting, or was with family, still in the area. Never much of one to hobnob with the cheese n' wine crowd. But at least I got a lot of exposure to real prints by both
EW and BW from an early age - long before I saw anything by AA, so that made quite an impression on me. Probably nobody in photo history
will be able to fill exactly the respective niches those two did, and it's even more remarkable that such different styles could arise in the same
Thanks from me too-EW is still my favourite, especially the later pictures of Point Lobos.