Friday, August 7, 2009

What Would Weston Do?

I had just settle into a comfortable chair at the doctor's office, picked up a copy of the Automobile Club's Westways Magazine, and was excited to find an article I was actually interested in. Their recent issue was an article on Edward Weston, "Highlights and Halftones. The California of Edward Weston." It reminded me of one of my professors at Syracuse University, where I attended to study photojournalism. As an exercise in photography, he put the names of a well known photographers on slips of paper, put them in a hat and passed the hat around the classroom, with each student drawing a name. But what each of us really wanted was to draw the name of a renowned photojournalist, e.g., Henri Cartier-Bresson, Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Capa or W. Eugene Smith. I drew Edward Weston. I was disappointed. But, not for long. We were required to research, study and present a report on "our photographer." I loved everything I saw about Weston's work...the shapes, forms and textures so richly conveyed in each of his photos. Though like most things in life, or in my life, I don't fully appreciate the lessons I've learned until I've had the opportunity to act them out.

Thus a quote from Westways story:

"He once equated photography with learning to drive a car: At first, every little step must happen consciously, but with practice and increasing familiarity, many details a driver (or photographer) must pay attention to fall to the background. 'The driver ceases to think in terms of brake, clutch, and gear,' he said, just as "[t]he photographer no longer has to ask himself, what lens shall I use? What exposure shall I give? Shall I use a filter? Until a photographer has achieved this disciplined coordination, he cannot have full command of his medium, and his work will be governed to a greater or lesser degree by the accidental.' " Westways

After leaving the doctor's office...and no I didn't steal the magazine...I found a renewed sense of viewing the landscape around me. And on my way home that evening I stopped to photographic the upended roots of an oak tree. I decided to run these photos side-by-side color ,and black and white, as an exercise in photography and enjoying the comparison.

By the way, I received an "A" on my presentation about Edward Weston.

1 comment:

toni said...

I love this story. I love a good coincidence.
And I was told you were supposed to take the magazines in waiting rooms. I've never had the courage to do it, but I've been told that by more than one person.