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Brett Weston miscellaneous acquisitions collection

Identifier: AG 247

Scope and Contents

Materials in this collection include five, black-and-white, 8x10 contact prints by Brett Weston. Versos have notes by Dody Thompson for a book of Weston’s work.


  • undated


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

To access materials from this collection, please contact

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission from the copyright owner (which could be the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates or literary executors) prior to any copyright-protected uses of the collection.

The user agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, Center of Creative Photography, including its officers, employees, and agents, from and against all claims made relating to copyright or other intellectual property infringement

Biographical Note

Theodore Brett Weston (1911-1993) was an American photographer and part of the West Coast photographic movement. Brett Weston began taking photographs in 1925 at age 13 while living in Mexico with his father, Edward Weston, and Tina Modotti. He began showing his work in 1927 alongside his father, and was featured at the international exhibition at Film und Foto in Germany at age 17.

He preferred high gloss, black-and-white silver gelatin photography, and is credited by Beaumont Newhall as the first photographer to make negative space the subject of a photograph. Brett Weston was ranked as one of the top ten photographers collected by American museums by the final decade of his life. His photographs are included the collections of numerous museums, including the SFMoMA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Honolulu Museum of Art, LACMA, and the Center for Creative Photography.

Although he acknowledged the artistic influence his father had on his work, and spoke of his admiration for other photographers including Paul Strand, Charles Sheeler, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weston believed non-photographic artists impacted his work more. He proclaimed Georgia O’Keeffe to be the greatest American painter and admired Die Blaue Vier (the Blue Four), a group of Russian and German Expressionists known for the vibrant color and emotion in their paintings. He was also moved by Constantin Brancusi and Henry Moore’s sculptures, and Weston carved wood from an early age. He was also deeply influenced by music and dance.

Returning to California in 1926, Brett continued to assist his father in his Glendale portrait studio while exhibiting and selling his own photographs. In 1929, Brett and Edward moved to Carmel, California, where the Weston family, including Brett’s three brothers, would maintain homes for the rest of their lives. At various times, Brett Weston also lived in Los Angeles, where he had his own studio and portrait business, and in New York, where he was stationed in the army. He later traveled extensively on personal photographic trips to South America, Europe, Japan, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Beginning in 1938, Weston produced a series of portfolios, grouping together sets of his photographs for sale and distribution. Over the course of his career, he would create a total of fourteen portfolios, ranging from between ten and twenty prints apiece. Following a 1947 Guggenheim fellowship, during which he photographed along the East Coast, he returned to Carmel to assist his ailing father and pursue his fine art work, including wood sculpture that related to his own photographs.

Between 1950 and 1980, Brett Weston’s style changed sharply and was characterized by bold, abstract imagery. The subjects he chose were, for the most part, not unlike the nature studies that interested him early in his career: plant leaves, knotted roots, and tangled kelp. He concentrated mostly on close-ups and abstracted details, but his prints reflected a preference for strong contrast that reduced his subjects to pure graphic form. In the late 1970s and 1980s, Weston spent much of his time on the Big Island in Hawaii. Brett Weston died in Kona, Hawaii, in 1993.


1 Box (0.5 linear feet)

Metadata Rights Declarations

  • License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.


Miscellaneous materials documenting the life and career of Brett Weston (1911-1993), photographer. Each group of materials is described separately.


Subgroup One, gift of Terry Etherton, 2013.

Custodial History

Subgroup one, gift of Terry Etherton, 2013.

Related Materials

AG 143 – Brett Weston collection

Processing Information

Finding aid updated by Alexis Peregoy in 2018.

Brett Weston Miscellaneous Acquisitions Collection n.d.
Finding aid created by CCP Archives Staff
© 2020
Description rules
Finding Aid Based On Dacs (Describing Archives: A Content Standard)
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid encoded in English

Repository Details

Part of the Center for Creative Photography Archives Repository

1030 N. Olive RD
Tucson Arizona 85721 United States