weston fasting and hazmat

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I have been reading Edward Weston's Daybooks and was curious if anyone could illuminate on why he fasted and what exactly he meant by fasting. He seemed to use it as a cure all. Also, b&h won't ship neutol warm tone dev., stop bath and other chemicals. Any info on where I can find this stuff. They said it was a Hazardous Material.

many thanks ech

-- echard wheeler (eckwheeler@aol.com), April 19, 2001


According to Charis Wilson, in her book "Through Another Lens" Weston was one of many who read bernarr McFadden and swallowed it whole. He also believed that sunbathing was good for you and the healthiest way to deficate was to squat.

If you get a chance, read "The Road to Wellville" and you'll get an idea of the health notions that still crop up from time to time like High Colonics (Hey Homer, here's a coupon for a free High Colonic!) etc.

I have no idea if it helped his photography, but I suppose it couldn't hurt....

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), April 19, 2001.

I don't know if fasting actually helped Edward Weston or not. But a number of religious groups use fasting & prayer to help with spiritual enlightenment. Fasting is mentioned on religious teachings the world over. And, of help to photographers in search of enlightenment, when Jesus and other religious leaders were looking for enlightenment they often went to the mountains, the deserts and other places where they were away from people. A lot of us look for inspiration in various ways. So if fasting helped Weston, more power to him.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), April 19, 2001.

Hi Echard, with regards to the fasting, when he was sick he didn't eat. His prints where known for their rich blacks. My blacks are more kinda of like silver grey. I'm now wondering if the fasting is the trick? With regards to chemicals, have you tried Freestyle in LA? I've received chemicals from them via UPS. Best, David

-- david clark (doclark@yorku.ca), April 20, 2001.

Maybe the fasting is why those peppers look soooo good.

-- Kevin Crisp (KRCrisp@aol.com), April 20, 2001.


The problem B&H has with some chemicals is that their computer system apparently isn't set up to handle any chemicals that require a HazMat fee. The problem really isn't that the materials are hazardous, the problem is that B&H can't charge the HazMat fee that UPS, FedEx, etc charge for these items. I wouldn't think that they should have any problems with Neutol Warm since its not on the HazMat list. Some fixers are not on the list, but those with hardener usually are as are most stop baths. You should be able to get any of these HazMat chemicals from any of the other stores like Freestyle or Adorama since they are set up to charge the HazMat fee.

-- Ken Burns (kenburns@twave.net), April 20, 2001.


One other thing. Edward Weston not only fasted from time to time, but he also ate prunes when he wasn't fasting. I'm not sure if it was the prunes or the fasting that helped his photos the most.

-- Ken Burns (kenburns@twave.net), April 20, 2001.

We are getting eclectic! Fasting, prunes, deep, rich blacks, and hazmat! I have not had a problem getting liquid chems shipped lately by anybody other than B&H. Adorama, Abbey in Phila, Calumet, and the Formulary have all been fine. I've also found that some things don't require an additional fee unless they're air shipped. I agree with the previous poster...I think B&H may have an internal admin problem. BTW, for those of us in Northeast, I needed some stuff quickly during the Adorama/B&H Passover shutdown, and Abbey was quick and competitive.

-- John Sarsgard (sarsgard@yahoo.com), April 20, 2001.

I second Sean's recomendation of Charis Wilson's book. It will give you more insight into Weston's lifestyle and I think paints a more human picture of the man than one might get from some earlier texts. It is also just a good read about a life in and around photography,well written enough to share with a non-photographer spouse. A good thing in my house.

-- Erik Gould (egould@risd.edu), April 20, 2001.

I fasted once... for two weeks. It was during a rather penniless stint in college. See... I had a choice, it was either buy beer and smokes or food and smokes. I was young then, nowadays I'd hafta go with smokes and smokes.

Can't remember it effecting my dmax tho'...

-- tribby (linhof6@hotmail.com), April 20, 2001.

FWIW, E Weston was a vegetarian. How devout, I don't know. I recall Ansel Adams jokingly attributing some of Weston's health problems to malnourishment in one of his books (Autobiography mayhaps?). I suppose this is a form of suffering which is apparently needed to produce great art. Perhaps that's my problem?



-- Duane K (dkucheran@creo.com), April 21, 2001.

He was a vegetarian...but only when he wasnt eating meat. Among his other healthy habits was smoking until he was 50.

-- Wayne (wsteffen@skypoint.com), April 22, 2001.

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