Edward Weston Pepper #30
Edward Weston Nude
This most influential photograph for me in my early days of photography was Edward Weston's Pepper #30. It was this image that showed me photography could be done as an art. I discovered my interest in photography in the 60's and at the time there were not many resources available to learn from. I would spend my free time at the public library reading all I could about photography and studying the works of the master photographers. One of the first photographers that I discovered was Edward Weston. I was struck how he could take very simple subject matter and transform them into sensual shapes and forms. His image of the pepper #30 had the biggest impact on me, and still does today. Weston described the way he photographed as "to see the thing itself". I could relate to this simple yet powerful message represented in his work. I learned that the simplest interpretation of a subject is often the strongest statement. When I am composing a photograph I start by looking for distractful things I can eliminate from scene just by changing my position to help isolate the thing of interest. The other important thing I learned from Edward about composition was understanding the principle he describe as "form follows function" first used by Frank Lloyd Wright with regards to architecture. If you study these two photographs you can see how very simple the subject matter is, but how powerful the images are. I believe it is important, espically for beginners, to study the work of great photographers to understand how photography can transform ordinary objects into works of art.