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Little Birds
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© 1981 Arizona Board of Regents, Center for Creative Photography

Edward Weston
American, Mexico, 1924
Palladium print
7 1/2 x 8 5/16 in.
92.XM.84

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The bird is a beauty indeed--a blue heron, bill and feet red, neck turned over its back to almost a completed circle--a lovely thing in line, but done by nature (albeit nature improved by man) for the bird is a painted gourd.

Edward Weston's affinity for Mexico's gourds, hand-painted by local craftsmen, was such that he both photographed and wrote about these brightly decorated creations. Since ancient times Mexican artisans have been using gourds as vessels and ornaments. Enamored of their graceful shapes, Weston collected a number of these traditional folk artifacts during his three-year stay in Mexico and used them in photographs taken almost twenty years after he returned to the United States.