Research – Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham

On starting the exercises using light I thought of the works by Edward Weston, primarily his images of peppers, shells and cabbage leaves. These images take on an abstract feel as you are drawn to the shape and form of the subject, the highlights and shadows play an important part in this. The images are erotic and sensual as these natural objects are photographed in such a way that they mimic the human form. Having the images in black and white accentuates the shape and form.

Pictures: (Accessed 10.05.2017)

The images above both appear to have a soft directional light, the shell images is centred to the subject to highlight its symmetry as well as its smooth form. The cabbage leaves appear to have a soft light cast from the right (slightly above) which accentuates the valleys and veins of the leaf to almost mimic a landscape or flowing hair, it gives movement to an inactive object.

Weston’s nude series also focuses on shape and form and I was pleased that there were some Edward Weston’s to view in my recent study visit to The Radical Eye exhibition. The photograph entitled ‘Nude’ below was one of Edward Weston’s that was in the exhibition.


Pictures: (Accessed 10.05.2017)

The nude image uses a soft natural light but with a harder shadow to the left of the models arm as it appears to be against a wall, I am drawn to the shape of the nude rather than the nude, the beautiful soft oval shape formed by her arms as they frame her body.

Another photographer who achieves something similar is Imogen Cunningham. Her plant images as well as her nudes and still life’s all seem to focus on form, shape and the use of light and shadow. Again her images are in black and white which I think accentuates the effect. I also had the opportunity at the Radical Eye exhibition to see some of her images on display.

Photographs  : (Accessed 10.05.2017)

These images appear to make use of natural light although the magnolia image could be replicated by a soft artificial light. The nude may have used the natural light from a window and the washing line also has used sunlight to shine through the sheets and accentuate the shadow areas where the fabric lays in folds.

Even her street photos and landscapes use light and shadow to great effect as can be seen in the image below also accessed via

Alone, about 1950

I am hoping to experiment with taking images today of a similar nature, I have a few plants and objects that I want to light to capture their shape and form.



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