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Seema Weatherwax and Jason Weston: A Photographic Lineage

"Some of Seema's photos most poignant photos... include an historical record of homeless farmworkers camped in Shafter, after having lost everything to the dust bowl in the midwest."

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Upon entering Special Collections I first focused on "Cactus Forest", an image that brought to mind the openness and depth of Ansel Adams. No surprise. In the Glass case behind me was a copy of Ansel Adam's "Making a Photograph" from 1935, inscribed by the author to Edward Weston, who wrote the forward.
Focusing Through Time: a unique story of
Friendship, Photography, and Collaboration

McHenry Library Special Collections, UCSC
January 3 - March 18, 2005


It was his son Chandler whose fate would later become intertwined with Seema. She was wedded to Jack Weatherwax in 1942 after 4 years of work with Ansel Adams. In the same display case with Adam's book rests a portrait of Edward photographed by Chandler and printed by Jason. Shortly before Chandler's death in 1995, Seema and Jason met for the first time, their interests made for an easy friendship.

Some of Seema's photos most poignant photos sat in boxes for 40 years. They include an historical record of homeless farmworkers camped in Shafter, after having lost everything to the dust bowl in the midwest. The equipment she used did not lend itself to candid shots - the sensitivity of the photos is all the more amazing. In photographs of children seated around a table, depth of field is used to establish a sense of viewpoint, and seems to express pyschologically how one child may have seen the others. This is especially striking in the context of an art where sharp focus from front to back is the norm.

Adams relied on her eye for printing while he shot in the Rocky Mountains: her sense of nuance is apparent in these very personal and introverted creations. When her eyesight began to fade, she asked Jason to print for her, and thus the rationale for the joint exhibition. Seema, white hair like a halo about her head told her story for the gathered crowd, her voice steady and spontaneous expressing her joy in the vision Jason help make visible. A fair number of photos had already sold. The show continues through March 18.

David Roknich
Editor

DOGSPOT

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