Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Inspirations #23: Edward Weston - Cypress

When one is visiting the California coast one cannot ignore the cypress trees that make this rugged land their home. The cypress was one of Edward Weston's favorite subjects. I believe he felt a connection with these tenacious conifers, often gnarled in this part of the world from eons of wind. He photographed them equally well as both part of the larger landscape and intimately.

This image of cypress roots has an abstract quality to it, reminding me of flames and even a mountainside or cooled lava flow.

Cypress Root, Pt. Lobos, CA, 1929 by Edward Weston

My father was a printer, and when I was young he would take me to the paper company when he ordered paper. I was fascinated by the entire process, including how paper was made on a commercial scale. I remember receiving a poster of this process from his salesman at the warehouse on the life cycle of a tree (for paper-making purposes, of course). There was an illustration of a redwood with a time line depicting the life of this giant which included the birth of Christ. This fascinated me how something could live that long. And the key to deciphering this was the rings. Rings... also the source of grain.

The image below was taken in the Allan Memorial Grove at Pt. Lobos, most probably in the same area Weston photographed his roots in 1929.

Cypress Grain, Pt. Lobos, CA, 1986 by Richard M. Coda

This image, in addition to being inspired by Weston, was also the result of an image I made on Ellis Island two years earlier of a piece of very weathered plywood. I would love to continue a series on this theme of grain... the life story of trees.

Grain, Ellis Island, NY, 1984 by Richard M. Coda

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