Bad Water, Death Valley

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Edward Weston (American, 1886–1958)
Bad Water, Death Valley, 1938
Gelatin silver print
7 1/2 × 9 9/16 in. (19.05 × 24.29 cm)
Purchase in memory of Herbert Dwight M1957.51
Photo credit: Larry Sanders
© 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not Currently on View

Rejecting his earlier Pictorialist aesthetic, Edward Weston dedicated himself in the 1930s to the camera's unrivaled capacity for depicting the world "as it is," without sentiment or embellishment. In 1932, he and several other photographers, including Ansel Adams, formed Group f/64, which advocated the use of a small aperture, contact printing, and glossy paper—all of which increased the clarity and formal rigor of the photograph. The goal was to elevate form over subject matter and create an unabashedly modern image. This landscape expresses the concept perfectly: Weston's sophisticated composition and exquisite craftsmanship create an arrangement of shapes and tones that upstage the extraordinary topography of the California valley he depicts.

Publication History
Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 209, color illus.

Milwaukee Art Center. Edward Weston, 74 Photographs. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Catalogue, 1956, cat. 31.
Exhibition History
Light Borne in Darkness: Photography Highlights from the Permanent Collection, Milwaukee Art Museum, November 24, 2015–April 10, 2016.

American Landscape Photography. Milwaukee Art Museum. May 10–September 1, 1996.

What's in a Line? Milwaukee Art Center. November 3. 1967–February 25, 1968.

Edward Weston, 74 Photographs, Milwaukee Art Center, November–December 1956. (purchased from thie exhibition)


This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.