Brett Weston was born in 1911, the second son of photographer Edward Weston. Photography’s child genius, Brett showed incredible promise as an artist as early as the age of fourteen, when he accompanied his father to Mexico and first started shooting with a Graflex 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 in. camera. Wholly devoted to photography from that point onwards, Brett gained international acclaim at the age of eighteen after his work was included in the influential German exhibition Film und Foto. While initially influenced by the work of his father, and drawn to similar subject matter, Brett Weston nonetheless possessed an eye uniquely his own. Throughout his prolific career Brett Weston concentrated on the natural and man-made landscape as his subject, although within this focus his work ranged greatly from close-ups of spatial surfaces to wider views of the land. Regardless of whether Weston was shooting at an intimate distance or out over a far-reaching vista, he consistently instilled his work with a powerful sense of abstraction, simplifying the natural forms with hard edges, contrasting textures, and an attention to pure form.
In the course of his career, Brett Weston traveled and photographed throughout the United States and Europe, but for most of his life he lived in California. During his years in California, Weston produced a body of work which included images from the San Francisco Bay Area, Carmel Valley and along the coast. In the catalogue to a 1966 exhibition of Brett Weston’s work at the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, in Fort Worth, Texas, Nancy Newhall, former curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote, “his love of intense blacks and whites is evident—black as space in which forms move, black as active force or repeating rhythm; white as pure continuous line, an accent like a chisel cut, or frost on darkness. Equally strong is his feeling for dynamics…the sweep of the great bridge across the Golden Gate, the brilliant surge of the Pacific leaving huge twist ropes of seaweed behind it.”
One of the world’s most revered photographers, Brett Weston has also long been considered one of photography’s master printers. His work is included in nearly every major museum collection and has been the subject of numerous monographs. Brett Weston died at his home in Hawaii in 1993.