Amy Conger has produced a beautiful collection of Weston's photos, selected form about 25 years of his work. As the title suggests, most of these are wonderful figure studies. The remaining few are still-lifes or landscapes. Many of these, like the shells p.48, pepper p.69, or radish p.74 present the same curves and compositions as his nudes.
In part, these help to bring out a geometric contrast that seemed to fascinate Weston: the merger of flowing curves of figure with harsher, angular geometries. One (p.70) creates a square frame of crossed arms containing the roundness of the model's breasts. Others show the elegant gawkiness of knees and elbows (p.75, 91), or the columnar architecture (p.77) of the body's supporting members. Two photos (pp. 102, 103) present a generously rounded black model, coincidentally named Weston - just enough to leave me hoping for more, in contrast to Weston's more common work with slender, light-skinned women.
Although I enjoy this book immensely, one thing about it baffles me. For some reason, Conger's publisher chose to use the same format and cover photo (Nude, Bertha Wardell) as a much earlier book by Charis Wilson - something that could easily fool potential readers into mistaking one for the other. It's not that Conger was unaware of Wilson's book, in fact Conger notes it in her bibliography. I guess I'll never know.
Or need to. It's a great collection anyway. Conger's brief biographical note at the beginning (echoed in Spanish at the end) was helpful, but the pictures truly speak for themselves.