Edward Weston (b.1886 - d.1958) began photographing at the early age of sixteen after receiving a Bull's Eye #2 camera from his father, Edward Burbank Weston. Weston’s first photographs captured the parks of Chicago and his aunt’s rural farm. In 1906 he moved to California to live with his sister May. Weston married his first wife, Flora Chandler in 1909. With Flora he had four children, Edward Chandler (1910), Theodore Brett (1911), Laurence Neil (1916) and Cole (1919). In 1911, Weston opened his own portrait studio in Tropico, California. This would be his base of operation for the next two decades. Weston became successful working in soft-focus, pictorial style, winning many salons and professional awards. He gained an international reputation for his high key styled portraits and modern dance studies. Articles about his work were published in magazines such as American Photography, Photo Era and Photo Miniature.
In 1923 Weston moved to Mexico City where he opened a photographic studio with his apprentice and lover Tina Modotti. Many important portraits and nudes were taken during his time in Mexico. It was also here that famous artists; Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Jose Orozco hailed Weston as the master of 20th century art.
After returning to California in 1926, Weston began his work for which he is most deservedly famous: natural forms, close-ups, nudes, and landscapes. Between 1927 and 1930, Weston made a series of monumental close-ups of seashells, peppers, and halved cabbages, bringing out the rich textures of their sculpture-like forms. He moved to Carmel, California in 1929 and shot the first of many photographs of rocks and trees at Point Lobos, California.
He became one of the founding members of Group f/64 in 1932 with Ansel Adams, Willard Van Dyke, Imogen Cunningham and Sonya Noskowiak. The group chose this optical term because they habitually set their lenses to that aperture to secure maximum image sharpness of both foreground and distance. 1936 marked the start of Weston’s series of nudes and sand dunes in Oceano, California, which are often considered some of his finest work.
He became the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship for experimental work in 1936. Following the receipt of this fellowship Weston spent the next two years taking photographs in the West and Southwest United States with assistant and future wife Charis Wilson.
In 1938 Weston moves to Wildcat Hill, Carmel Highlands CA, close to his beloved Point Lobos State Park and in 1939 marries Charis Wilson. Later, in 1941 using photographs of the East and South, Weston provided illustrations for a new edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.
Edward Weston has been called "one of the most innovative and influential American photographers" and "one of the masters of 20th century photography." In 1947 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and he stopped photographing soon thereafter. He spent the remaining ten years of his life overseeing the printing of more than 1,000 of his most famous images.