Brett Weston

Dates1911 - 1993
RolesPhotographer, Printer
BornLos Angeles, California, United States
DiedHawaii, United States

Brett Weston's starkly beautiful photographs fall under the same conceptual framework as those of his famous father, the well-known American photographer Edward Weston. Both used large-format cameras, insisted on previsualizing final images before exposure, and produced immaculate prints.

Weston demonstrated his potential at an early age. He was thirteen years old when he began using his father's second camera, a Graflex, in 1924. At that time, he abandoned formal schooling and was living with his father and his father's mistress, Tina Modotti, in Mexico. By 1932, Weston had shown work alongside his father's in several high-profile exhibitions and had been given his first museum retrospective.

In the 1930s and '40s Brett Weston began to forge his own vision, which evolved into a seamless combination of the literal and the abstract. The 8-by-10-inch camera became his tool of choice. His early subjects were San Francisco and New York. These cityscapes playfully depict the architectural forms he came across, more than they record urban life. During the 1950s and beyond, Weston focused on the natural landscape, sometimes working side by side with his father to photograph sand dunes, boulders, and plants. Moving in close on subjects like broken glass or a weathered windowsill, Weston eliminated context in his pictures to invite abstraction.

Weston spent about a year helping his ailing father print portfolios of his life's work. On Brett Weston's 80th birthday, he burned all but a dozen of his own negatives to underscore his belief that only the artist should print his own work.