I happened to make a comment over on ToP about what an objectionable prick Edward Weston was, and it got me to thinking.
It turns out that I don't much like Weston's photos any more. I used to!
Don't get me wrong, I don't think they're objectively bad photos. I don't think they should not exist. I like photos, I still like photos. But Weston's aren't my favorites.
The thing is, they're all so damned chilly. I get what he's after; he claims to have been after the essence of the thing, and sure, there it is. The formal essence of the form of the thing. Not really the thing itself, but its form, sure. The nudes are all bodyscapes, the landscapes and vegetables are all nude bodyscapes too when you get down to it.
The portraits all seem utterly disengaged, and they all kind of look the same. They all look like they're self-consciously, pointedly, ignoring the man with the camera. Like he's yelled at them to stop smiling at him, like he's leaned pretty hard on them to make no connection to the camera and thence the viewer at all.
I mean, this is what he was trying to do after all. He wanted to make these explorations of form and essence, not to be hanging about with people in all their complexity and squishy yuckiness. He was after a real austerity.
To be blunt, this isn't anything I am much interested in any more. I'm increasingly drawn toward humanist photography, and away from, well, everything else. Certainly away from formal exercises in light or whatever.
This isn't to say that you can't like Weston. Of course you can! It's just a matter of taste.