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Edward Weston, American, (1886–1958)
Boulders, Monterey, 1930
Photographic materials on paper
15 1/4 in. x 16 in. (38.74 cm. x 40.64 cm.)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Black & white photography
Credit Line: Purchase, Jean and Arthur Ames Fund
Accession Number: AR41

Alternate Title: Rock, Point Lobos

Weston sought to photographically capture what he deemed the “rhythm” of an object, rather than merely its physical presence: “The creative force in man, recognizes and records these [life] rhythms with the medium most suitable to him, to the object, or the moment…to photograph a rock, have it look like a rock, but be more than a rock.”

Throughout his career, Weston created a diverse repertoire of photographs including portraits, images of nudes, still-life photographs of vegetables, and the California coastline. Born in Illinois in 1886, Weston moved to Tropico, California in 1906. He eventually opened his own studio after studying at the Illinois College of Photography and working at A. Louis Mojonier’s portrait studio. In 1923, Weston moved to Mexico, where he continued his photographic pursuits while working among artists of the Mexican Renaissance.

Upon his return from Mexico in 1926, Weston continued to photograph California and the greater United States. In the photo, Boulders, Monterey, the boulders’ smooth surfaces reference the waves that continually wash over them. Along the edge of the photograph, many of the boulders are only partially framed, indicating that this is a small sample of many boulders in the surrounding area. Weston unifies the boulders through the aerial, yet sidelong, angle from which he photographs them. However, he also manages to emphasize the boulders’ individual characteristics, such as the flat, dark area of the boulder in the lower right, and the oval-shaped boulder in the lower center that is cracked down the middle. Weston’s insightful representation of the boulders indicates that he was both above and among them, attempting to capture their very essence, their life rhythm.

Ashley Newton ’10
Wilson Intern 2009

Weston’s talent for still photography went beyond composed shots within his controlled studio: some of his early defining works were images of nature. The undulating shapes of these boulders in Monterey, California become waves of light and shadow. The size of these boulders is indeterminate: they could be pebbles on the shore, or large rocks off of the coastline. Weston famously declared that an artist’s “finished print must be created in full before he makes his exposure,” a mantra that affirmed control and precision, something difficult to do outside the studio.

David Kuhio Ahia, PO ’18
Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Intern

"American Photography, 1920-1945", Lang Gallery, 11/6/88-12/18/88

"Edward Weston 1930" below print, right; on verso: "R39 1930" "Boulders - Monterey". Inscribed "EW 7/50" on mount, below print, left.

Black and white photograph (gelatin silver print) on very thick paper, mounted onto off-white card-stock.

Object Description
Early twentieth century black and white photographic print of rocks close-up, in Monterey, California.

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