Brett Weston followed in the footsteps of his father, renowned photographer Edward Weston, in forwarding recognition of photography as a fine art in the 20th century. Born and raised in California, Weston took the opportunity in 1947 to shoot the East Coast, thanks to a Guggenheim Fellowship.
This exhibition of 60 photographs coincides with the centennial of Weston’s birth and contrasts photographs he made in urban areas of the East Coast and wild regions of the West.
Weston began his career in photography at age 13 in 1925, before most of the art world accepted his medium as a fine art. His father removed Brett from school and took him to Mexico, where he became his father’s apprentice. Surrounded by revolutionary artists of the day, such as Tina Modotti, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and influenced by the striking contrast of life in Mexico, Brett began making photographs.
Soon his work got noticed. The curator of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Van Deren Coke, stated that “Brett Weston was the child genius of American photography.”
His father believed that by the age of 14, Brett was doing better work than he was doing himself at age 30 and privately credited his son with influencing his own work. The elder Weston wrote, “Brett and I … have the same kind of vision. Brett didn’t like this; naturally enough, he felt that even when he had done the thing first, the public would not know and he would be blamed for imitating me.”
Weston travelled extensively and created photographs that reflect his intense studies of ways in which abstract forms can represent the identity of particular places.
“The Brett Weston Archive has generously loaned us some of the most exquisitely printed photographs of the 20th century,” Milteer said. “This is fine art photography at its best.”