A photographic pioneer shifts his focus

Edward Weston was a trailblazer in the early days of photography. He rose to fame in the late 1920s with his sensual still-life photos of vegetables and shells, his abstract closeups of trees, rocks, and nudes. Critics hailed Weston for his attention to form and balance. They dubbed him a master of "the new art of the 20th century."

Weston's signature style of focusing on details still influences photographers today. But while Weston began as a formalist, some of his most important work came toward the end of his career, when his approach markedly changed.

From 1938 to 1948, Weston turned his lens upon the central California coast. His black-and-white images, still crisply focused, were more moody and expansive. They focused on larger subjects and revealed more psychological depth.

Now, 76 of these photos are being shown together for the first time. "Edward Weston: the Last Years in Carmel" includes nature shots as well as domestic scenes and portraits. The exhibition is at the Art Institute of Chicago until Oct. 28. For more information, go to: www.artic.edu/aic/exhibitions/carmel.html.

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