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Rain Over Modoc Lava Beds

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Rain Over Modoc Lava Beds

1937
20th Century
7 1/2 in. x 9 1/2 in. (19.05 cm x 24.13 cm)

Edward Weston, American, (1886–1958)

Object Type: Photography and Video
Creation Place: North America, United States, California
Medium and Support: Gelatin silver print
Credit Line: Museum Purchase, Susan L. Mills Fund
Accession Number: 1941.5
Edward Weston was a seminal American photographer whose radical approach to composition, lighting, and form changed the history of the medium. Over the course of his career, Weston’s style shifted from the Pictorialist’s blurred painterly effects to the crisply focused images of Group f/64, which Weston founded in 1932 alongside Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Sonya Noskowiak, and Willard Van Dyke. The purpose of the influential group was to further their common aesthetic interests by establishing a formal rubric for photography. The name f/64 was taken from the smallest lens aperture on their large format cameras, which allowed them to capture the greatest depth of field in order to create sharply detailed prints.

Today a national monument, these lava beds comprise part of the ancestral homeland of the Modoc Nation, which spans over 5,000 square miles along what is now the California-Oregon border. Intermittent eruptions over thousands of years layered the land, leaving intricate caves, cones, craters, and black, jagged blankets of lava. The Modoc called this “the land of burnt-out fires” and moved freely across their homeland until they were forcibly removed by white settlers.

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Dimensions
  • Sheet Dimensions: 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (190.5 x 241.3 mm)
  • Mat Dimensions: 20 in. x 24 in. (50.8 cm x 60.96 cm)

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