With My Father in the Darkroom: Kim Weston
by| 08 Sep 2014
It was always an adventure working with my dad, Cole Weston, in his darkroom. From the time I was six years old, he trusted me to run his portrait shoots through the fixer. I remember sitting on a stool so that I could reach the darkroom sink. Everything was in total darkness, but I was with my dad. The smell of the chemicals, the sound of running water, the photographs washing and clearing—there was a great rhythm to the photographic process.
I remember vividly when Dad first called me about working with him on the Edward Weston negatives: ‘Kim, can you come and help me work on a printing job? We will be printing Edward’s negatives!’ I replied without hesitation, ‘Would love to, Dad!’
He paid me $5 per hour, and it was a magical time in my life. I was 25 years old, and it was as if I was meeting my grandfather for the first time—not directly, but through the hands of my father and the images made by his father. I grew to understand not only my grandfather Edward, but also my father as well. I was only 5 years old when Edward died.
I watched Dad meticulously print his father’s images from codes and notes on each negative sleeve. He relied on his memory of being with his father and his memory of seeing the original Edward prints. He also had for reference Project Prints made by his brother Brett. To come to a final print decision became more exhausting than to make prints from our own negatives. We used amidol to develop, and papers that came closest to what Edward Weston wanted in feeling and in tone. With all that said, it was a great time for me, a remarkable opportunity to get to know my dad and my grandfather Edward Weston a lot better. Thank you, Dad.