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Monthly Masters DiscussionMonthly Masters' Discussion: Sep 2017 - Weston's Pepper

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minniev
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Monthly Masters' Discussion: Sep 2017 - Weston's Pepper

Post by minniev » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:14 am

Edward Weston was one of the most innovative and influential of American photographers and one of the masters of 20th century photography. A couple of weeks ago Chuck Haacker posted a link to this interesting offering from DPR, we conspired, and decided to do this Masters' on one of Weston's famous peppers. Of course in his 40-year career Weston photographed an expansive set of subjects, including landscapes, still life, nudes, portraits, genre scenes and even whimsical parodies. But his peppers are still one of his most well known legacies.

The photograph offered here, Weston's iconic Pepper No. 30, is from a series of pepper studies made by the photographer over an intensive four days in the summer of 1930. Weston placed this pepper in a tin funnel, which provided not only a curving, undefinable background, but also refracted lighting. Pepper No. 30 was immediately one of Weston's favorite and most sought-after pepper studies.For Weston, this photograph represented a definitive step forward in the evolution of his work. In this month's Masters' we want to discuss how that happened, and why such a seemingly simple image could have gained and maintained the interest it has, over almost a century.

Review some of the support material linked below, and tell us what YOU think of this image.

Some questions you may consider as you analyze the image:
- How has such a simple subject attracted this much attention and become a classic?
- What works or doesn't work? Light, Moment, Composition, Subject, Processing?
- Does the image have impact? Why or why not?
- Prints of the same image (in the links) differ. Do you find a particular one more engaging? Why?
- Does the image have meaning? What do you think its message is?
- Would you want this image on your wall?
- Have you attempted photographs that were inspired by Weston's peppers? If so, please share and explain!

Resources to learn more about Weston and his work
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Weston
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/aug/18/edward-weston-photography
http://www.theartstory.org/artist-weston-edward.htm
http://iphf.org/inductees/edward-weston/
http://artdurkee.blogspot.com/2009/12/edward-weston-philosophy-of-photography.html
http://edward-weston.com
https://www.dpreview.com/videos/3382538781/this-iconic-still-life-photo-was-shot-at-f-240-for-6-hours?ref_=pe_1674010_132618830
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fair use: http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2014/photographs-n09129/lot.24.html
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Post by ErichBrunner » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:11 pm

minniev wrote:Edward Weston was one of the most innovative and influential of American photographers and one of the masters of 20th century photography. A couple of weeks ago Chuck Haacker posted a link to this interesting offering from DPR, we conspired, and decided to do this Masters' on one of Weston's famous peppers. Of course in his 40-year career Weston photographed an expansive set of subjects, including landscapes, still life, nudes, portraits, genre scenes and even whimsical parodies. But his peppers are still one of his most well known legacies.

The photograph offered here, Weston's iconic Pepper No. 30, is from a series of pepper studies made by the photographer over an intensive four days in the summer of 1930. Weston placed this pepper in a tin funnel, which provided not only a curving, undefinable background, but also refracted lighting. Pepper No. 30 was immediately one of Weston's favorite and most sought-after pepper studies.For Weston, this photograph represented a definitive step forward in the evolution of his work. In this month's Masters' we want to discuss how that happened, and why such a seemingly simple image could have gained and maintained the interest it has, over almost a century.

Review some of the support material linked below, and tell us what YOU think of this image.

Some questions you may consider as you analyze the image:
- How has such a simple subject attracted this much attention and become a classic?
- What works or doesn't work? Light, Moment, Composition, Subject, Processing?
- Does the image have impact? Why or why not?
- Prints of the same image (in the links) differ. Do you find a particular one more engaging? Why?
- Does the image have meaning? What do you think its message is?
- Would you want this image on your wall?
- Have you attempted photographs that were inspired by Weston's peppers? If so, please share and explain!

Resources to learn more about Weston and his work
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Weston
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/aug/18/edward-weston-photography
http://www.theartstory.org/artist-weston-edward.htm
http://iphf.org/inductees/edward-weston/
http://artdurkee.blogspot.com/2009/12/edward-weston-philosophy-of-photography.html
http://edward-weston.com
https://www.dpreview.com/videos/3382538781/this-iconic-still-life-photo-was-shot-at-f-240-for-6-hours?ref_=pe_1674010_132618830


I read the links that you supplied with great interest. One the the things that struck me is the idea that modern photographers are (of course this is a generalization) suspect of deep shadows and highlights. Pepper no. 30 probably would not do very well in the competitions of my local club. I can hear the judge saying that there are blown highlights and the shadows are too dark. I tend to like dark images and deep shadows. As such I find Pepper no. 30 very appealing. I would not describe it as "beautiful"; but it is certainly striking and, I believe, it has a lot of visual impact. I would probably not want the photo on my wall. If I owned one of Weston's photos, I would probably sell it to a museum rather than hang it on my wall.

Your last question is the most intriguing to me. Yes, I have tried to shoot photos that are similar to Weston's. I will probably continue to do so. I am a big fan of Black and White. B&W images have the most impact when the compositions are simple. Not simplistic; but simple. I guess what I'm suggestion is that less is more. One of my favorite photos (that I took) is a shot of three white eggs on a white background where the forms are defined by think lines that form the edges of the eggs shape. The shot is very simple; but it was difficult to make and I think it has a lot of impact. So, without knowing it, I would say I have definitely been influenced by photographers who shoot subjects similar to Weston's Peppers.
Erich

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Post by minniev » Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:44 pm

ErichBrunner wrote:
I read the links that you supplied with great interest. One the the things that struck me is the idea that modern photographers are (of course this is a generalization) suspect of deep shadows and highlights. Pepper no. 30 probably would not do very well in the competitions of my local club. I can hear the judge saying that there are blown highlights and the shadows are too dark. I tend to like dark images and deep shadows. As such I find Pepper no. 30 very appealing. I would not describe it as "beautiful"; but it is certainly striking and, I believe, it has a lot of visual impact. I would probably not want the photo on my wall. If I owned one of Weston's photos, I would probably sell it to a museum rather than hang it on my wall.

Your last question is the most intriguing to me. Yes, I have tried to shoot photos that are similar to Weston's. I will probably continue to do so. I am a big fan of Black and White. B&W images have the most impact when the compositions are simple. Not simplistic; but simple. I guess what I'm suggestion is that less is more. One of my favorite photos (that I took) is a shot of three white eggs on a white background where the forms are defined by think lines that form the edges of the eggs shape. The shot is very simple; but it was difficult to make and I think it has a lot of impact. So, without knowing it, I would say I have definitely been influenced by photographers who shoot subjects similar to Weston's Peppers.
Erich


Thanks for jumping in Erich.
I remember your egg photos, one of my favorites of your shots. Simple, elegant, and definitely Weston-ish though your eggs were more high-key if I remember correctly.

Feel free to add it to your post, I don't think everyone here has seen it.
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Post by Matt Quinn » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:35 pm

Minnie, I suspect there is no need to explain what inspired the attached.
Conch shell (1 of 1).jpg
I saw Weston's shell or an imitation of it in a gallery and thought to do my own. All of this was done in Lightroom -- painfully slow. More confirmation that I need to learn PS.

I am slogging through the references you cited; some of it is very pretentious, some highly opinionated, some very shallow, some very helpful and good. I will keep on keeping on and may write some stuff, if I can find the words and avoid pretending I know what I don't.

How did the show go? And how is/was Scotland? Matt
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Post by Charles Haacker » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:55 pm

Matt Quinn wrote:Minnie, I suspect there is no need to explain what inspired the attached. I saw Weston's shell or an imitation of it in a gallery and thought to do my own. All of this was done in Lightroom -- painfully slow. More confirmation that I need to learn PS.

I am slogging through the references you cited; some of it is very pretentious, some highly opinionated, some very shallow, some very helpful and good. I will keep on keeping on and may write some stuff, if I can find the words and avoid pretending I know what I don't.

How did the show go? And how is/was Scotland? Matt

Hi, Matt, it's Chuck. I promised Minnie I would keep and eye on this thread while she was away, but I am actually away myself, in Colorado with family for a couple of days. I was without internet, but I'm connected right now.

First, I LOVE your conch shell! That's a beautiful job! I figured you shot it on black Plexiglas, but you did the reflection in LIGHTROOM?! :S Wow! That is a heckuva job! I would not even have attempted it but gone straight to Photoshop. Very well done!

As to "...very pretentious, some highly opinionated, some very shallow, some very helpful and good. I will keep on keeping on and may write some stuff, if I can find the words and avoid pretending I know what I don't," I often wonder whether critics (paid to criticize) aren't sometimes pretending they know what they don't. Personally I have loved Weston's pepper series since I first saw it, and this specific one, no. 30, I believe is the best known because it is the best. But that is a subjective opinion from a guy who loves it (and I would have it on my wall if I could afford it). Weston insisted he never intended any sensuality in any of the peppers, but intended or not I think sensuality is there, especially in no. 30. But love it or hate it it's hard to be indifferent to it, which I think may be what makes art, art.
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

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Post by Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:25 pm

The lst book I purchased on a photographer back in the late 70's was Edward's Daybooks. I still have them in my library and recently re read volume 1.

The smiplicty of the image, a pepper (everyday found object) creates a wide range of emotions from the viewer.
Of course it has impact, that is the reason why it stops us in our tracks when viewing it.
Prints do differ. This one is in need of some serious spotting. ;-) I've heard that Ansel told Edward his prints have a green tone to them and I have to agree with this example. A more modern print printed by his son Cole
offers a complete different tonalty.
Form follows function.
I would love this image in my BW Collection. The last vintage print sold for $341,000, a print by Cole Weston can be had in the $15,000 range. To much for my pocket book. ;-)
I have not photographed peppers, however I have photograph pears.

His influence has been huge and that of his son Brett. There are times when I have them in my thoughts when seeing an image. Here is one from last Sat that had me thinking of Edward.

Oh, One of the lst things I learned from Edward Weston was about Composition: How strongly are you seeing what your looking at, the only rule I adhere too.
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Post by Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:54 am

Edward Weston's Church Door.
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Post by Matt Quinn » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:36 pm

In need of repair 2 (1 of 1).jpg
Ernst, This is not in the same league or even universe as the church, but I thought to post it anyway. Taken on a Crosby Beach, Cape Cod in the off-season when crews repair privy enclosures. It shows what salt air, sun and sand-spray wind do. Maybe this should be posted in the Gallery instead? Matt
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Post by Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:23 pm

I like it Matt.
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Post by Matt Quinn » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:32 pm

Thank you. I was tempted to crop it to a square and straighten it, but decided to go natural. I may do the crop just for fun for myself. Matt
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