Edward Weston
Two Shells

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Two Shells
Artist name
Edward Weston
gelatin silver print on paper
9 1/2 in. × 7 in. (24.13 cm × 17.78 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Albert M. Bender Collection, bequest of Albert M. Bender
© 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Audio Stories

Weston’s daybook entry on these shells

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NARRATOR: On July 7, 1927, Edward Weston wrote about his new shell photographs in his daybook.


NARRATOR READS FROM DAYBOOKLast evening Orozco was here — I got out the shell prints. Well, in a few words, he liked them better than all your collection put together. Of one he said, “This suggests much more the ‘Hand of God’ than the hand Rodin made.” It is the one that has made everybody, including myself, think of the sexual act. 


From the above quotations it will be seen that I have created a definite impression, but from an angle which surprised me! 


Why were all these persons so profoundly affected on the physical side? 


For I can say with absolute honesty that not once while working with the shells did I have any physical reaction to them nor did I try to record erotic symbolism. I am not sick and I was never so free from sexual suppression. 


I am not blind to the sensuous quality in shells, with which they combine the deepest spiritual significance. Indeed it is this very combination of the physical and spiritual in a shell like the chambered nautilus, which makes it such an important abstract of life.

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