I am currently reading the Daybooks of Edward Weston. If you haven’t yet experienced this insight to the life of a photographer, do so. It is much more than an accounting of photographs made. It is a history of an artist’s life. The passion of art, the necessity to surround yourself with other creative people, the challenge to make a living. Reading about the struggles and triumphs of a famous photographer give us encouragement to continue our own creative lives.
Edward Weston moved to Mexico in 1923. He had an exhibition at Aztec Land and it was a great success. He became the talk of Mexico. Diego Rivera, already a well-known painter, made a visit to the exhibit. The following is taken from the Daybooks of Edward Weston.
Last evening, Diego Rivera visited the exhibit. Nothing has pleased me more than Rivera’s enthusiasm. Not a voluble emotion, but a quiet, keen enjoyment, pausing long before several of my prints, the ones which I know are my best. Looking at the sand in one of my beach nudes, a torso of Margrethe, he said, “This is what some of us moderns were trying to do when we sprinkled real sand on our paintings or stuck on pieces of lace or paper or other bits of realism.”
I post this because as obsurd as it seems, there is still a misguided connotation that photography is easier than painting. I am a trained painter (Parsons the New School for Design, NY) and photographer. Neither one is more difficult than the other. They just communicate in a different way. Rivera’s observation of Weston’s photographs remind us that the choice of creative medium is just as important as its message.
The photograph above is not the image Rivera was commenting on. Just an example of Weston’s beach nudes.