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Diego Rivera Visits Edward Weston, Mexico, 1923

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.

Nude on Sand, Oceano, 1936

The photograph above is not the image Rivera was commenting on. Just an example of Weston’s beach nudes.

Diego Rivera photographed by Edward Weston, 1924


About Gina Genis

Hi Friends, I'm a photographer and artist who lives in Washington DC. I have two blogs. The Gina Genis Blog is about art and photography. My new blog, DC Discoveries is dedicated to showing you everything from fashion to art, food to entertainment in all sections of the District. I hope you will take the journey with me. I exhibit my work in museums and galleries across the U.S. I'm included in the permanent collections of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, the Otto G. Richter Library Special Collections Division of the University of Miami, Hard Rock Casino, Orange County Transit District, IBM, and the Sarah and Adam Markman Collection among others. My series "Window Peeping" was included in OsCene 2010 at the Laguna Art Museum, Truman State University, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Biola University, and solo shows at Gallery 825 and Cypress College. The "June Gloom" series was exhibited in a solo show at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The "Kala" series has been exhibited at MPLS Photo Center, Cypress College, and Gallery 825. "Economy Portraits" was created as an Artist In Residence project at the Huntington Beach Art Center, and was awarded "Best Art Show of 2011" by the OC Weekly. I curated Wide Angle View, an exhibit of 16 international, award-winning photo and multi-media journalists at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art to much critical acclaim. Recent reviews of my work have appeared in the Huffington Post, Art Scene, OC Weekly, Orange County Register, New University, Riviera Magazine, Coast Magazine, Huntington Beach Independent, and appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, and more. I lead the Gina Genis Photo Workshops where I show beginning and intermediate photographers how to jump to the next level with their work. I also teach online photography courses through The Compelling Image.

One response »

  1. I read his Daybook a couple of times…i recieved them for Christmas about 30 yrs ago. Only after reading it the second time did I start to understand the “art” in his photography. I only hope that my portraiture will one day be considered a great work of art.


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