Edward Weston (1886~1958)
Excerpts from Weston’s Daybook
1st August 1930…
The glorious pepper Sonya brought has kept me keyed up all week… I started with an under exposure – by the time I had developed the light had failed ad though I tripled my time again I undertimed! Again I tried, desperately determined to get it because I could ill afford the time, Giving an exposure of 50 minutes at 5:00 I timed correctly but during the exposure the fire siren shrieked and promptly the fire truck roared by followed by every car on town: the old porch wobbled, my wobbly camera wobbled, the pepper shimmied, and I developed a moved negative…
Sonya keeps turning up with new peppers!… I tried putting it in a tin funnel for a background. It was a bright idea a perfect relief for the pepper and adding reflected light to important contours…I still had the pepper that has caused me a weeks work. I had decided I could go no further with it, yet something kept me from taking it to the kitchen, the end of all good peppers. I placed it on the funnel, focussed with the Zeiss and, knowing just the viewpoint recognised a perfect light, made an exposure of six minutes, but with a few moments of preliminary work – the real preliminary work was done in hours passed…
First I printed my favourite… quickly made but with a weeks previous effort back of my immediate, unhesitating decision. A week? Yes on this certain occasion – but twenty years of effort… have gone into this pepper which I consider a peak of achievement.
It is a classic, completely satisfying – a pepper – but more than a pepper: abstract, in that it is completely outside subject matter. It has no psychological attributes, no emotions are aroused: this new pepper takes one beyond the world we know in the conscious mind.