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Edward Weston was a blogger. He didn’t call it blogging of course. His blog entries were private notes to self, kept in journals called his daybooks. Over a span of decades, sometimes frequently, sometimes sporadically, he wrote about the inner workings of his life; his loves, money, friends, adventures, and most importantly, photography and art – both his own and others.

I first read Volume I about 1964, and received Volume II as a present from my dad when I was a Senior in high school. Both became well worn; I read and re-read each many times. Simply put, they changed my life. Not just my photography, my life. Weston’s daybooks showed me that art doesn’t spring whole cloth from the lens of a camera. Nor is it a matter of sitting down and saying “Well, ok, I think I’ll do some art now.” Art flows as an extension of self; an actualization of the dynamic forces at work in life. Art externalizes inner reality. Heady stuff for a high school kid…

I won’t attempt to review Weston’s Daybooks nor his photography here (rest assured I will refer to them often). But if you’re really interested in getting better at this, at being a better photographer, stop whatever you’re doing and run off and find copies of his Daybooks. Now. Not only will you obtain a collection of photographs generally acclaimed as “great art”, to both study and enjoy, you will also have the rare, perhaps unique opportunity to “see” the life of a great artist, foibles and all, and from this perspective perhaps better understand your own way of seeing.

Edward Weston’s daybooks were a jumping off place for me – an embarkation point – from which I set forth on a lifetime of learning how to see. Not just as a photographer, but in every aspect of my life. What I learned from the Daybooks was this: The most important part of your camera is you. You see with your heart, but the mind is the lens that brings life into focus.

I can think of no more appropriate place from which to commence this blog.

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