Trying to make my own pepper No. 30

In the late 1920s, Edward Weston began photographing what he called "still-lifes" or individual ordinary objects at close range. Inspired by the bright, bold, simplified forms he observed in murals by Diego Rivera and Jose Orozco while in Mexico, the artist produced sharply focused portraits of subjects that prompt a reconsideration of their aesthetic potential. Pepper #30, one of at least 46 negatives he created of the vegetable over a two year period, is also the most famous of his pepper images.

During a four-day period from August 2–6, 1930, Weston took at least thirty more negatives of peppers. He first tried again with plain muslin or a piece of white cardboard as the backdrop, but for these images he thought the contrast between the backdrop and the pepper was too stark. On August 3 he found a large tin funnel, and, placing it on its side, he set a pepper just inside the large open end. He wrote:

"It was a bright idea, a perfect relief for the pepper and adding reflecting light to important contours. I still had the pepper which caused me a week's work, I had decided I could go no further with it, yet something kept me from taking it to the kitchen, the end of all good peppers. I placed it in the funnel, focused with the Zeiss, and knowing just the viewpoint, recognizing a perfect light, made an exposure of six minutes, with but a few moments' preliminary work, the real preliminary was on in hours passed. I have a great negative, ‒ by far the best!

It is a classic, completely satisfying, ‒ a pepper ‒ but more than a pepper; abstract, in that it is completely outside subject matter. It has no psychological attributes, no human emotions are aroused: this new pepper takes one beyond the world we know in the conscious mind.

To be sure, much of my work has this quality...but this one, and in fact all of the new ones, take one into an inner reality, ‒ the absolute, ‒ with a clear understanding, a mystic revealment. This is the "significant presentation" that I mean, the presentation through one's intuitive self, seeing "through one's eyes, not with them": the visionary."

It was shot at f/240 with an exposure of 4-6 hours. F/240!

This is an attempt. I am going to try it without the slate background since I think it is too busy. This was shot at f/22 for 1.6 sec. How do you even get to f/240 now days?


© 2018 by Grissom Photography

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