The fourth of ten "epiphanous photographs" - a hand-picked series of photographs as defined in an earlier Blog entry - is...
Epiphanous Photograph #4: Edward Weston's Pepper No. 30, 1930
Edward Weston (1886-1958), was one of the masters of 20th century photography. Working primarily with large-format cameras and natural light, Weston elevated the photography of "common objects" such as rocks, sea shells, and vegetables to an artform. Through impeccable composition, masterful attention to tone and design, and consummate printing skills, everyday things became works of art. Ansel Adams wrote that "Weston is, in the real sense, one of the few creative artists of today. He has recreated the matter-forms and forces of nature; he has made these forms eloquent of the fundamental unity of the world. His work illuminates man's inner journey toward perfection of the spirit."
Weston's Pepper, No. 30, is a perfect example of Weston's artful perfection and unique eye. It is, in fact, a "mere" pepper; a "thing" we have all seen countless times, mostly without ever really looking at any given pepper's unique, and uniquely beautiful, curves and tones. But the world had to wait for Weston to show us how magnificent a humble pepper really is; and by so doing, to also show us all how all things, if seen - and displayed - with the proper eye/I, possess a resplendent inner glow.
The existence of Weston's Pepper, No. 30, has made it impossible for me to look at anything -however outwardly and objectively "ordinary" it may at first appear - as devoid of photographic opportunity and potential latent beauty. In short, this one photograph (which I first saw when I was about nine or ten) instantly transformed the banal landscape of the "everyday" into something wondrous, mysterious and beautiful. It is also another reason why I love fine art photography!