From The Editorial Desk
Thursday, January 8, 1998
It was on the eve of Brett Weston's 80th birthday that he announced his intention to destroy all of his photographic negatives spanning his entire artistic career.
For Weston, as for many of the landscape photographers of the so-called West Coast School, the printing from the negative by the photographer was integral to the artist''s vision and interpretation of what was seen and felt at the time the photograph was taken.
Although several dozen of Weston''s negatives were eventually spared, albeit in a condition that will prevent future printing, a vast majority, totaling close to 7,000 images, was destroyed. What remains of Weston''s astonishing artistic output are some 30,000 original prints that have been the center of a protracted and bitter legal struggle between the attorneys for Weston''s estate and his former agent.
In ways that are somewhat similar to Weston''s abstract landscapes, this week''s cover story is filtered through the impressions and recollections of some of Weston''s closest friends and associates, and represents just one interpretation of the truth. As Weston himself so adamantly insisted throughout his life, it is his artistic legacy that must stand as the final truth.