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Edward Weston 
Cabbage Leaf 
1931 
  
Oakland Museum of California 
© Collection of the Oakland Museum of California. Gift of Concours D'Antiques, Art Guild 
  
 
LL/16185 
  
Photo Synthesis
Colin Westerbeck
 
"Edward Weston: Masterworks From the Collection" is on view at the Oakland Museum of California through June 11. (2006)
 
Where his contemporary and colleague Ansel Adams saw timeless harmony in nature, Edward Weston saw dynamic energy. His views were a mélange of the "life force" described by French philosopher Henri Bergson and the all-pervasive eroticism of English novelist D. H. Lawrence, whom Weston photographed in Mexico in 1924. The sensuousness Weston felt coursing through all existence was manifest in the way vegetable, mineral and animal subjects became metaphors for one another in his photographs. He made many nude studies of his lovers, but the closest he ever came to the pornographic was his famous 1930 picture of a bell pepper.
 
This cabbage leaf is typical of Weston's vision, and typically beautiful. Isolated against a black background, it is a lava flow surging down a volcano, the undulating grain of a desiccated cypress tree, the seaweed writhing in the surf at China Cove or the hair of his lover and muse Charis Wilson floating above her naked body. It is the universal principle of ceaseless flux in nature in which Weston believed.
 
[Originally published in West Magazine : March 19, 2006, p.13] 
 

 
  
 
  
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