MFA Collection Books

Edward Weston
The Early Years

Karen E. Haas with Margaret Wessling
Format Regular Price Member Price
Hardcover $50.00 $45.00

192 pages, 120 color illustrations, 9 × 11 in., ISBN: 978-0-87846-850-8  

This book tells the story of Edward Weston before he was Edward Weston — before he was the renowned modernist photographer we know so well. His early years in the field coincided with the height of the pictorialist movement in America, and while he was never a typical practitioner of that style, he did make photographs that borrowed themes from paintings and other media, and experimented with soft-focused imagery that sometimes looks more like graphite drawings or inky dark prints than photographs. Although he initially disavowed the painterly experiments of his early years, Weston eventually came to appreciate these images as a record of his journey toward personal and creative maturity.

Introducing rare surviving prints from the unplumbed holdings of the Lane Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, this book offers new insights into Weston’s working methods and artistic evolution. Revisiting these photographs and the circumstances in which they were created greatly expands our understanding of his aesthetic development and allows us to see the young Weston as a photographer who actively engaged in the lively mix of art and commerce of his day, and ultimately discovered in that formative experience the seeds of his own artistic identity.

Beautifully reproduced examples of Weston’s most important early work, essays exploring their place in his oeuvre and in the history of photography, and discussion of his early materials and techniques make this book an essential resource.

About the Authors

Karen E. Haas is Lane Curator of Photographs, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Margaret Wessling is the former Claire W. and Richard P. Morse Fellow for Advanced Training in Conservation of Works of Art on Paper at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is currently Conservator of Photographs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.