Dear Edward (statement)
Edward Weston (1886 – 1958) is an iconic figure of 20th century photography whose work has become part of the Modernist canon of straight photographers. Throughout his life he kept a journal regularly recording both his practice and his personal life. Excerpts selected from these journals were later published in a two volume series titled “The Daybooks of Edward Weston”. Although carefully edited, the resulting publications provides an in depth and at times quite raw view of his life including his struggles as an artist, his experience as a parent and his angst about his love affairs.
My photographs were made with a pinhole camera in Banff Alberta while I was participating in an artist residency in 2006 at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Edward Weston was known to use a lens with an f/stop of 256 to create an extreme depth of field and throughout my residency I worked with a pinhole camera with an f/stop of f/256 that I had made with a shoebox. As a result of the extremely small f/stop my exposures were quite long – usually several hours in length. At the time I was reading Weston’s Daybooks and I was surprised to find myself relating to him not as the ‘modernist genius’ but rather as a person dealing with the daily struggle of personal relationships, economic hardship, creative passion and responsibilities of parenting. Some of my images were made in direct references to his own while others are more reflective of my experiences of making work while other images were made to reference his relationship with fellow artist Tina Modotti. The letters were written as a way to respond to his writing while re narrating his work and events of his life. I imagined engaging Weston as a friend and confidante while writing to him from my own position of a photo-based artist living almost one century later. The work presented in this exhibition is my attempt to playfully engage with Edward Weston’s writing, his photography and the mythology surrounding him as an artist.