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BEST BET

June 28, 1992|DENISE HAMILTON

Edward Weston was a visionary artist whose photographs were known for their composition and clarity of detail.

Revered as a master craftsman, Weston worked only with natural light and seldom cropped or retouched his negatives. At a time when the medium was still evolving, he showed photography's artistic as well as documentary potential. For example, Weston's vision of sand dunes is almost three-dimensional, resembling an abstract sculpture or the contours of a human body.

For the reverent aficionado as well as the untutored novice, the Huntington Library in San Marino has assembled about 50 of the artist's works in "Temptations of Form: Selections From the Edward Weston Collection."

The exhibit includes scenes of the California coast and Western deserts, detailed images of natural forms, portraits of family and friends, and studies of buildings and film sets.

Born in 1886 in Illinois, Weston--like many other artistically inclined folks of the era--migrated to Southern California and opened a studio in Glendale at the age of 18.

He abandoned commercial photography at 23 to live in Mexico for three years. Upon his return, Weston began his famous nature studies. In 1937, he received the first Guggenheim Foundation grant given to a photographer. With the funding, he was able to undertake a major project: "an epic series of photographs of the West," some of which are included at the Huntington.

The show, in the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery of the library, at 1151 Oxford Road, runs through Nov. 1. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Suggested admission is $5. Information: (818) 405-2141.

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