2021 WEEK 44: B&W Fruits & Vegetables à la Edward Weston

“I see no reason for recording the obvious.” – Edward Weston

If you’ve spent any time at all looking at Edward Weston’s photographs, you quickly realize that they are more about how light and shadow sculpt the subject rather than the subject itself. This is particularly true of his study of vegetables in black and white. His photo Pepper No. 30 is iconic. In Weston’s own words:

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 human emotions are aroused: this new pepper takes one beyond the world we know in the conscious mind. — Edward Weston, Daybooks, August 8, 1930

While on the surface it might seem like this week’s challenge is about fruits/vegetables, it is really about lighting, i.e. lighting that makes the fruits/vegetables look like sculptures. The lighting in Weston’s Pepper No. 30 was achieved by placing the green pepper inside of a tin funnel, causing the light to wrap around the contours of the pepper. (It also helps that the shape of the pepper is folded in on itself. Weston was always on the lookout for abnormally shaped vegetables for his photography subjects.)

You don’t need to use a funnel for this challenge, but definitely consider your light source and add reflectors as necessary to enhance the shape and contours of your subject. Soft side light will tend to wrap around and produce soft gradations to enhance the shape and curves of your subject. Also experiment with the direction of the light hitting your subject to see how it changes the interpretation of the contours.

*All photos were sourced from wikiart.org and are being used as “fair use”. Each of the links under the photos above will take you to articles about Edward Weston and his approach to photography. They may help you better understand his approach and mindset as you think about creating your own photos this week.

This week’s challenge summary:

  • Create a B&W photo of fruit and/or vegetables in the style of Edward Weston. Pay particular attention to the lighting to enhance the contours of your subject.
  • You may create the B&W either in your camera or in post-processing.
  • Post your photo during the week of Sunday, Oct 31 and Saturday, Nov 6..

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo: #2021photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2021 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About thedigitaljeanie

I’m a self-taught photographer and way back when I used to love taking photos, but I allowed a business that I started in 2004 to take over my life and my photographic repertoire was reduced to quick product shots and how-to tutorials. When I joined the PhotoChallenge in December 2015, I was looking to rekindle my creativity and bring some joy back into my photography. I jumped in with both feet and have not looked back. I believe that photography can change the way we see and interact with the world around us. Some people may think that I hide behind the camera, but I feel that I experience the world in a much more intimate way when I am creating a composition in my viewfinder. In those moments distractions disappear, my mind focuses and I am fully present. It is just me and my camera capturing a moment in time that might otherwise go unnoticed. My background is as varied as the photos that I take. I’ve trained and worked as a software engineer, a massage therapist, an English teacher in Vietnam, a photo restoration artist (which is how I learned Photoshop) and for the past twelve years I have run a small software business with my husband where I have been published in numerous books and magazines, appeared on PBS television, created designs for fabric, quilts and machine embroidery and won awards for some of my quilts. It should come as no surprise that I am intensely curious about life and love to learn new things. I am blessed to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, USA in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins with my husband and cat. You can find me online at: Photos: flickr.com/photos/the-digital-jeanie/ Day job: KaleidoscopeCollections.com Facebook: facebook.com/jeaniesa