The Final Days
Shortly after his death, Nancy Newhall’s obituary for Weston was published in Modern Photography. It provides a fitting conclusion to the story of Edward Weston’s life and an equally fitting end to this volume.
On New Year’s morning, 1958, Edward Weston died. He was seventy-one and a victim of Parkinson’s disease; death for him was a release from helplessness. But for his family – four sons, seven grandchildren, two great grandchildren – for the hundreds who, down the years, came to this simple shack overlooking the Pacific like pilgrims to a shrine, and for thousands to whom his work had been a revelation, his death left a huge gap on the horizon – a gap to be filled only by renewed dedication to the ideals towards which his life had been a passionate journey.
Weston had risen that morning and struggled to a chair. The chair overlooked his beloved Pacific coastline. There he died quietly. His ashes were scattered at Point Lobos, yet his memory lives on. “From all over the world letters, phonically, wired, tribute, plans for exhibitions, publications, memorials were pouring in; his presence seemed very strong.” Commenting on the overwhelming flood of sympathy, his sons concluded, “Now that he is dead, he is more alive than ever.” Today, that thought is truer than ever.