Cole Weston

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Cole Weston
Born1919 January 30
Died2003 April 20
Monterey, CA
Known forFine Art Photography
Notable work
Surf and Headlands
Spouse(s)Dorothy Hermann, Helen Prosser, Margaret Woodward

Cole Weston (January 30, 1919 – April 20, 2003) was Edward Weston's fourth and youngest son. Although Weston "was born into the tradition of craftsman- produced black-and-white art photography, he was to find his own photographic direction in colour.".[1]

Cole Weston's life followed a diverse course that started with theater, later leading him to the Navy,[2][3] a position photographing for Life,[4] and later photographing portraits, before he moved to Carmel, California in 1946, at his father’s request. In the years that followed, Cole became his father’s assistant and trusted companion; and, as Edward's struggle with Parkinson’s disease worsened, Cole became the keeper of two careers, his father’s and his own.[1] Before his death in 2003, Cole Weston was devoted to keeping both bodies of work flourishing and circulating widely.[5][6][7]

Life and work[edit]


Cole graduated with a degree in theater arts from the Cornish School in Seattle in 1937.[2]

Naval Service (1943-1945)[edit]

Cole served in the United States Navy during World War II as a welder and photographer[2] in Norman, OK.[3]

Assisting Edward Weston and discovering color (1946–1958)[edit]

Upon his discharge from the navy, Cole started photographing for Life in Southern California.[4] At the same time, Edward became increasingly crippled by Parkinson’s Disease and wrote to Cole asking for his help with the printing of his negatives;[4][8] and so, in 1946, Cole and his wife moved to Carmel to help his ailing father in his darkroom and studio.[1][2] Cole and his brother Brett Weston printed their father's negatives under his supervision.[6][7]

At the time, Eastman Kodak sent their new color films Kodachrome and Ektachrome to Edward because they wanted him to "photograph Point Lobos in color" to which Edward responded: "Well, I don’t know anything about color, but I know Point Lobos better than any man alive".[5] With the leftover film, Cole began experimenting with the new medium and, in 1957, he created his first color prints of the California coastline.[2][9]

"I’m a color photographer. That’s what I do. Whether you like it or not, that’s what I do. There is nothing wrong with black and white, but I am into color. And I like it!"[5]

The second Forest Theater Guild[edit]

In 1971, Cole Weston established the second Forest Theater Guild in Carmel, CA and began directing productions on the outdoor stage during spring and summer months.[10] Weston worked with the Forest Theater Guild for 50 years in which he directed more than 30 plays and was involved with the physical construction of the Indoor Forest Theater[11][12] (a small theater beneath the outdoor stage) "hauling in the concrete and other building materials himself".[13]

Edward Weston's negatives and the Cole Weston Trust[edit]

In his will, Edward Weston left his negatives to Cole, who printed them[1][14] for more than 30 years. On September 30, 2014, a collection of 548 prints from Edward's negatives, printed posthumously by Cole, was auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York.[15]


  • 1981 – Cole Weston, eighteen photographs [16]
  • 1998 – Cole Weston: At Home and Abroad [17]
  • 1991 – Cole Weston, fifty years[18]
  • 1995 – Not Man Apart: Photographs of the Big Sur Coast[19]
  • 2000 – Laughing Eyes: A Book of Letters Between Edward and Cole Weston, 1923–1946 [8]


  1. ^ a b c d Williams, Val (2003-05-02). "Cole Weston". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Cole Weston". Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  3. ^ a b "Weston, Cole 1919- - Dictionary definition of Weston, Cole 1919–". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  4. ^ a b c Bethel, Denise. "EW/CWs: A Brief History". Sotheby's.
  5. ^ a b c "John Paul Caponigro :: Cole Weston (5/1/00)". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  6. ^ a b "Edward Weston | International Photography Hall of Fame". International Photography Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  7. ^ a b Weston, Maggi (2014). "Cole Weston and His Father's Legacy". Sotheby's.
  8. ^ a b Weston, Edward, and Cole Weston. Laughing Eyes: A Book of Letters between Edward and Cole Weston, 1923–1946. Ed. Paulette Weston. Carmel, CA: Carmel Pub., 2000. Print.
  9. ^ "Cole Weston". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  10. ^ "Cole Weston Elected President; Forest Theater Guild Maps Ambitious Program." Monterey Peninsula Herald, July 29, 1971
  11. ^ "Forest Theater a 'bohemian grove' for Shakespeare fans". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  12. ^ Ryce, Walter. "The Forest Theater launches an ambitious season celebrating 100 years of incomparable culture-by-the-sea". Monterey County Weekly. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  13. ^ Fishkoff, Sue. "Carmel photographer, director and bon vivant is dead at 84". Monterey County Weekly. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  14. ^ Hagen, Charles (1992-03-03). "Critic's Notebook; Just How Sacred Should Photo Negatives Be?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  15. ^ Kozinn, Allan. "Edward Weston Photos to Be Auctioned". ArtsBeat. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  16. ^ Weston, Cole (1981). Cole Weston, eighteen photographs. Abe. ISBN 0879050845.
  17. ^ Weston, Cole; Wolf, Paul (1998). Cole Weston: At Home and Abroad. Aperture. ISBN 0893817775.
  18. ^ Weston, Cole (1991). Cole Weston, 50 Years. Salt Lake City: GIBBS SMITH.
  19. ^ Jeffers, Robinson; Brower, David (editor) (1965). Not Man Apart: Photographs of the Big Sur Coast. San Francisco: Sierra Club. pp. Cover - Cole Weston's "Surf and Headlands".