The Center for Photographic Art
Taylor’s own gallery is adjacent to Carmel’s sumptuous Sunset Center performance space on San Carlos Street. The gallery was established 50 years ago by the Friends of Photography, including Ansel Adams and Cole Weston, Edward’s youngest son who once attended school in the building.
CPA is the second oldest nonprofit photo gallery in the country, and is devoted to honoring the storied past while keeping an eye on what new directions young artists are taking in fine-art photography. The past and future were linked by Adams himself, Taylor says, who at the end of this life predicted that photography would soon be an electronic form and that “the results will be fantastic.”
CPA offers workshops and lectures on photography and the creative process. San Carlos at Ninth Avenue, Carmel. 831-625-5181. www.photography.org. Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m., or by appointment.
Photography West Gallery
The first thing you notice when you step into the Photography West Gallery on Dolores Street are the enormous photo prints of landscapes and nature shots that invite a close-up gaze. These are photography’s endangered species, film photography printed on materials like Cibachrome that are no longer even manufactured.
Photography West was opened in the fall of 1980 by four local photographers with the help of Brett Weston, another photographer son of Edward Weston. One of those photographers was Carol Williams, who still owns the gallery today.
“Brett comes in one day,” says gallery manager Julia Christopher, who is also Carol’s daughter, “and, he says (to my mother), ‘So, you’re the young lady who is going to lose her shirt opening a photography gallery in Carmel.’”
Brett Weston vowed his help in exchange for the promise that the gallery would show only prints created by the photographers themselves. “He believed that the integrity of photographs rested on the artist actually making the photographs, not just shooting them, but actually printing them.” The gallery has kept to that ethic ever since.
Dolores Street at Ocean Avenue, Carmel. 831-625-1587. www.photographywest.com. Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment.
The gallery that carries Carmel’s most exclusive photography brand name was established by Maggi Weston, Cole’s wife, back in 1975, with encouragement from her friend Ansel Adams. According to the gallery’s director, Richard Gadd, Adams “was really looking for someone else to represent his work because people were just showing up at his door looking to buy a print. He spent more time dealing as the middleman for himself than making art.”
The Weston embraces fine-art photography from all eras, from the 19th century to the contemporary, but it’s the go-to place in town to see the most iconic images of Adams and the Westons — patriarch Edward as well as sons Cole and Brett. Among them are Brett’s striking negative-space abstracts, Adams’ nature landscapes and the most famous photo ever taken of a vegetable, Edward’s “Pepper 30.”
Sixth Avenue, between Dolores and Lincoln, Carmel. 831-624-4453. www.westongallery.com. Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment.
Weston’s original studio
Edward Weston first arrived in Carmel in 1929, working as a portrait photographer for another photography pioneer, Dutch-born Johan Hagemeyer. The downtown studio where Edward worked is long closed, but the building that housed it is still very much a part of the Carmel landscape. The Seven Arts Building is now the home of the gift shop Carmel Bay Co. But pilgrims can gaze up at the second-floor window fronting Ocean Avenue to imagine Edward restlessly looking out, dreaming of Point Lobos.
Corner of Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Street.
In 1939, Edward Weston and his wife, muse and model Charis Wilson moved into a rustic cabin by the ocean south of Carmel, a quarter mile from what is now Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. The house, on Wildcat Hill, is still home to Edward’s grandson, the fine-art photographer Kim Weston.
Point Lobos fired Edward’s imagination like no other place in his long lifetime, says Kim Weston. “People still get (Edward’s) ‘My Camera at Point Lobos’ book and they go and try to find those spots.”
Some of the rock erosions and trees, including the famous “Flaming Root” that captivated Edward, are still at Point Lobos. But, Kim says, the state has cordoned most of those spots off to keep out the visitors. “I know where they are,” he says, “but you can’t get to them anymore.”
Entrance is 3 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1. 831-624-4909. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. $10 per vehicle.