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Edward Weston "Pepper #35 p" 1930
[Celebrating The Negative]
1930 (original image) 2008 (publication)
Gelatin silver print
Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson
Hands: Dianne Nilsen, 5.15.92
A week after his friend Sonya Noskowiak brought Edward Weston a pepper from the market in Carmel, California, Weston wrote in his diary that it was beginning "to show the strain and tonight should grace a salad."
He changed his dinner menu, however, and next day put the pepper inside a tin funnel to take its picture.
"I have a great negative by far the best," he wrote after developing his film, adding that the picture had no "psychological attributes, no human emotions are aroused." This was an important point. Friends felt his photographs of vegetables were sexually suggestive, and their comments had annoyed the photographer.
Weston developed several negatives that day, so it is impossible to know for certain which one he thought was the best. He made 25 prints of negative #30, but it is so blindingly anthropomorphic that it can't be the one. Not that it matters. As curator Dianne Nilsen pulled negative #35p (13 prints) from its envelope, I saw that light had arranged particles of silver on its surface with such beauty that it took my breath away.
"It has been suggested that I am a cannibal to eat my models after a masterpiece," Weston wrote that week. "But I rather like the idea that they become part of me, enriching my blood as well as my vision."
This photograph is included in the portfolio Celebrating the Negative photographs by published by John Loengard, Etherton Gallery (2008), pl. 7
All photographs copyright ® John Loengard. Gelatin silver prints printed by Chuck Kelton, Kelton Labs, New York City, under the direct supervision of John Loengard. Printed on Ilford Multigrade Warm Glossy paper. Design and portfolio box construction by Jace Graf, Cloverleaf Studio, Austin, Texas.
Celebrating The Negative/Photographs by John Loengard was published by Etherton Gallery, Tucson, Arizona, in March, 2008, in an edition of eighteen portfolios, including fifteen numbered copies and three artist's proofs.