Edward Weston - The Early Years Book Review

November 07, 2021  •  1 Comment

Edward Weston: The Early Years Hardcover BookEdward Weston: The Early Years Hardcover Book Edward Weston: The Early Years hardcover book is an absolute treasure. 

I have always admired Weston for his simple large format contact printing methods, but I always wondered about the history and information about his formative and early years, especially his large format Pictorialist work. 

For most of Weston's career he talked negatively about his Pictorialist beginnings and I always wondered the back story to this and whatever happened.  

The author, Karne Haas, did an amazing job telling the story of Weston's early years and I am super impressed with the quality of the writing and literally everything about the book. 

All I can say is that if you are a large format photographer, then you will enjoy and treasure this book as much as I do. 

Once I opened the cover, my weekend was gone.  I spent the next two days reading the book and looking at Weston's amazing photographs. I come away inspired as well as having a solid understanding of who Edward Weston was before he became the famous Edward Weston that we read about.  

You can order the book directly from Amazon and have it delivered to your door in a couple of days. 

Book Description

Often overlooked―until now―Weston's early photography is painterly and luscious

This is a book about Edward Weston before he was Edward Weston―before he was the renowned modernist photographer we know so well. His early years in the field coincided exactly with the height of the Pictorialist movement in America, and while he was never a typical practitioner, he did make photographs that borrowed themes from paintings and other media, and experimented with soft-focused imagery that sometimes looks more like graphite drawings or inky dark prints than photographs. He would later disavow the gauzy, painterly experiments of his early years, claiming in his Daybooks that “even as I made the soft ‘artistic’ work … I would secretly admire sharp, clean, technically perfect photographs.”

Introducing rare surviving prints from the unplumbed holdings of the Lane Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, this book offers new insights into Weston’s working methods and his evolution as a photographer. By taking a longer and more nuanced view of his early years, and by reinserting his first experiments back into the larger story of his artistic production, it reveals the variety of ways in which the paths he took as a young man led him to become the mature modernist master. Beautifully reproduced examples of Weston’s most important early work, essays explaining its place in his oeuvre and the history of photography, and a section dedicated to the variety of Weston’s early materials and techniques make this book a must-have resource.

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Michael Wellman(non-registered)
Thanks for this recommendation. Weston is one of my favorite photographers and I have many of his books. I was unaware of his earlier works and after reading your review I knew I had to have this book. The writing of Westons earlier years is superb and is as good as the pictures themselves. I love his images from this time. They are simply gorgeous. Now I have to go and see them in person. Thanks Tim.
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