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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Brett Weston

Born: Theodore Brett Weston 
Dates:  1911 - 1993
Born:  US, CA, Los Angeles
Active:  US
One of America‘s greatest landscape photographers.

Preparing biographies

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Brett Weston 
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

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Supplemental information


Brett Weston
American, 1911-1993

Brett Weston was the second of Edward and Flora Chandler Weston's four sons. By 1923 Edward and Flora's marriage was ending and Edward went to Mexico with his eldest son Chandler. Brett was devastated by his father's departure and over the next two years he got into trouble at school. Edward returned to California in 1925 and took Brett back to Mexico with him. While on the ship Edward taught Brett how to use his camera and to Edward's surprise Brett learned photography quickly and easily. Within a few months Edward stated that Brett was "doing better work at fourteen than I did at thirty". When Edward and Brett returned to California in 1927 they were inseparable. Edward set up a studio and he and Brett worked together for the next 3 years. In 1929 twenty of Brett's prints were accepted in the "Film und Foto" exhibition in Stuttgart. Among world famous architects, avant-garde film makers and photographers such as Berenice Abbott, Imogen Cunningham and Man Ray, the show brought Brett international recognition.
By 1930 there was some strain in Edward and Brett's relationship. Brett decided it was time to leave and he set out on his own with his equipment, fifty dollars and a car. He set up an informal studio in a friend's home in Los Angeles. During the early years of the Great Depression he made a meager living as a portrait photographer. In 1932 he had his first one-man show at the M.H. de Young Museum. In 1935 he went to Santa Monica and once again opened up a studio with his father. Three years later he created his first portfolio, 10 images of San Francisco. During World War II he worked in an aircraft plant, as a cameraman at Twentieth Century-Fox, and eventually volunteered for the armed forces. By pulling a few strings he was assigned to the Signal Corps in New York where one of his commanders, Arthur Rothstein, gave him some time to photograph in the city. He shot with his new 11 x 14 camera and the resulting portfolio, "New York", was issued in 1951.
After Brett was discharged he spent some time photographing from Florida to Maine for a Guggenheim grant he received. In 1947 he and his brother Cole sold their houses and bought a small ranch together in Carmel, California. Brett continued to do portrait work and some of his photographs were published in magazines. In 1952 Brett and Cole put together their father's "50th Anniversary Folio". Suffering from Parkinson's disease, Edward could no longer do his own work. In 1955 Brett stopped making his own photographs and moved into Edward's home to work non-stop.
Brett had mainly photographed in Alaska and California. In 1960 he traveled throughout Europe and returned to the States to work on his European Portfolio. In the years that followed, Brett returned to Europe several more times and made two excursions to Japan. In 1968 a German camera company gave Brett a 2 & 1/4 SLR camera. The smaller format camera allowed him endless possibilities in the realm of abstractions. In 1975 the University of New Mexico exhibited his work in honor of his fiftieth year in photography. For more information on Weston see Brett Weston: A Personal Selection with an introduction by Dody W. Thompson, or Brett Weston Photographs From Five Decades, an Aperture Monograph with a profile by R. H. Cravens.
[Contributed by Lee Gallery] 

Internet biographies

Terms and Conditions

Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer. Go to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website

Internet resources

Terms and Conditions

Weston Photography 
Official website of Kim Weston. The site also includes works by Edward, Brett and Cole Weston. 
The Edward Weston / Cole Weston family website. 
Family website for Edward, Cole, Brett, Kim and Cara Weston. 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.177 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.553-554 
• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
• Heyman, Theres Thau 1992 Seeing Straight: Group f.64 (California: The Oakland Museum) p.155 
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.268-269 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Newhall, Beaumont 1982 The History of Photography - Fifth Edition (London: Secker & Warburg) [One or more photographs by Brett Weston are included in this classic history.] 
• Szarkowski, John 1973 Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art (New York: The Museum of Modern Art) p.122 [Analyzes a single photograph by Brett Weston.] 


Photographic collections are a useful means of examining large numbers of photographs by a single photographer on-line. 

In the 1990 survey of 535 American photographic collections Brett Weston was represented in 85 of the collections. Source: Andrew H. Eskind & Greg Drake (eds.) 1990 Index to American Photographic Collections [Second Enlarged Edition] (Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall & Co.) 
Library of Congress, Washington, USA 
Approximate number of records: 1 
Note: A single record may contain more than one photograph.
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