Looking for the answer to this week’s Art Abstracts? It’s Edward Weston’s White Dunes, Oceano, California! The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art’s photography collection began in 1937 when Oscar B. Jacobson, the museum’s first director, acquired three photographs by Edward Weston, including White Dunes, Oceano, California. The museum’s collection now includes over 2,000 photographs!
Edward Weston (1886-1958) became interested in photography at age sixteen when his father gave him a Bull’s Eye #2 camera. Although his early photographs were done in a soft-focus style known as Pictorialism, Weston changed course in 1922 with images that emphasized abstract form and sharper detail. In 1932, he became one of the founders of Group f/64. These photographers shared a preference for the highest image sharpness in both foreground and background, which they achieved by setting the aperture of their large format cameras to f/64.
This photograph is part of a series of images featuring the Oceano sand dunes Weston made in 1936. Characteristic of the series, White Dunes focuses on the line and pattern of the topography created by the wind and tides. Weston’s camera captured the sinuous patterns in the sand with equal detail in the foreground and background, calling to mind a quote from his diary, “The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?”
If you are interested in learning more about this photograph, or other works collected by Oscar B. Jacobson, please consider attending our monthly Art After Noon program.
Edward Weston (U.S., 1886-1958)
White Dunes, Oceano, California, 1936
Gelatin silver print, 7 ½ x 9 ½ inches
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, The University of Oklahoma, Norman
Museum purchase, 1937