Artdaily.org reports that an Edward Weston photograph (from 1925) was just sold for $1,609,000 at a Sotheby’s auction.
I must admit that I don’t know how any photograph could actually be worth $1.6M. Paintings seem different to me. An original painting is truly one of a kind, whereas a photograph can be reproduced endlessly.
On the other hand, a work of art never has an objective value. It is worth whatever someone will pay for it.
During Weston’s lifetime, his photos sold for $7-$10.
Weston is well known for his nudes. Some strike me as rather inelegant; others I quite like. Here’s my personal favourite (from 1936):
There’s something to be said for black and white nudes. A black and white photograph places the emphasis on the form of the body. The balance shifts away from brazen sexuality, toward erotica or perhaps aesthetics.
Even such an unblinking study as this one is clearly art, not pornography:
Weston is also famous for finding a kind of sensuality in natural objects:
Pepper #30 (above left) is one of Weston’s most famous studies:
Its sensuous undulating form is reminiscent of the human form with its curves and folds. Yet this is an object which stands alone. Weston states in speaking of this pepper, “It has no psychological attributes, no human emotions are aroused”. But what is human emotion? Indeed, the pepper is an inanimate object devoid of emotion, yet in its form it defines human life and emotion. Life abounds in its sensuous folds, with the certain knowledge of death in the decay that is evident at its base.