Gelatin silver print
Image: 20.6 x 18 cm (8 1/8 x 7 1/16 in.); Paper: 28.3 x 21.6 cm (11 1/8 x 8 1/2 in.); Matted: 55.9 x 45.7 cm (22 x 18 in.)
Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 2000.123
© 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents
From the late 1920s to the mid-1930s, Weston made the quintessentially modern photographs for which he is most famous: close-up, sharply focused studies of shells, vegetables, and portions of the human body. During this intensely creative period, he made this study of the hand of composer and pianist David Alberto. Weston treated the composition in a manner similar to his concurrent work, dramatically lighting a centrally placed object that emerges from a dark field. The effort proved challenging to both sitter and photographer, since Alberto had to maintain an uncomfortable pose while Weston worked with his bulky view camera to achieve the exquisite lighting that would clearly capture all the details of the organic form.
A Carmel, California resident, Alberto also published short stories, articles, and two successful plays. This photograph was originally intended as the frontispiece for his manuscript "A Pianoforte Technic for Hedonists" that apparently was never published. The text that was to accompany this photograph read, "finding beauty, form, and design in the accompanying reproduction, one takes the first step toward appreciating the contents of this volume."
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