Edward Weston (1886-1958)
Edward Weston (1886-1958)

Nude, 1936

Edward Weston (1886-1958)
Nude, 1936
gelatin silver print, printed c. 1948 by Brett Weston
Edward Weston credit stamp (on the reverse of the mount)
image/sheet: 9 1/2 x 7 1/2in.
mount: 15 x 13 1/4in.
The family of Edward Weston, Carmel;
With Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York
N. Newhall, Edward Weston, Photographer, Grossman, 1965, pg. 60; Wilson, Edward Weston Nudes, Aperture, 1977, pl. 82; Conger, Edward Weston: Photographs from the Collection of the Center for Creative Photography, 1992, fig. 968/1936


Darius Himes
Darius Himes




...chance enters into all branches of art: a chance word or phrase starts a trend of thought in a writer, a chance sound may bring new melody to a musician, a chance combination of lines, new composition to a painter. I take advantage of chance--which in reality is not chance--but being ready, attuned to one’s surroundings--and grasp my opportunity in a way which no other medium can equal in spontaneity while the impulse is fresh, the excitement strong.
—Edward Weston

It is chance that staged one of the most staggeringly beautiful portrayals of a nude in the history of photography. On the hot day that Edward Weston captured this iconic image of his eventual wife, Charis Wilson, she rested outside the door leading to the sundeck of their home in Carmel, California, overlooking the ocean. The blanket that she sits on in the picture was placed to separate her exposed flesh from the heated metal surface below. Her head is bowed against her leg to avert her eyes from the brightly shining sun. ‘Just keep it that way’ Weston tells her. Only one exposure is made; shooting 8 x 10 inch film isn’t cheap.

Later in life, when interviewed, Charis often mentions her dissatisfaction with the visible bobby pins and slightly crooked part in her hair; however, these little chance details captured in a brief moment are what bring us closest to the person in Weston’s stunning portrait.

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