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Biography

Below are excerpts from the unpublished biography of Brett Weston A Restless Eye| by John Charles Woods.
© John Charles Woods, All Rights Reserved

. . .There is a tendency. cultivated by Brett himself, to emphasize his "Mexican Period." Although pivotal for both Edward and Brett, it was actually quite brief. Brett spoke frequently about "My years in Mexico," I but this was a period of only a little over fourteen months. The exaggeration was understandable. Free of sibling competition, it was the most intimate time Brett would ever spend with his father. More than the literal amount of time spent in Mexico, it is Brett's Mexican experiences that are of concern. He established personal directions both conscious and unconscious, that forever guided his life.

Brett picked up a camera for the first time while steaming down the Mexican coast. Borrowing his father's Graflex, he photographed the crew of the SS Oaxaca. In typical rutty fashion, one of his first images was of a hefty crew member leaning on the rail. "I photographed the engineer," he remembered. I did a kind of documentary [photo]...a fat little Mexican guy, very friendly. no English. I photographed his back and his backside. He didn't like it very much and photographed the ship's carpenter who taught me all kinds of Mexican swear words--just crude." Several of the tiny prints survive today.

After stops in Mazatlan and Puerta Vallarta, the ship docked in Manzanillo on August 26th` Brett's first sample of the real Mexico occurred on the train to Guadalajara where they were to meet Tina. The engine went off the track and the engineer was killed. No one was injured in the Weston‘s car, but they waited eight hours for rescue. "That was my introduction to Mexico." remembered Brett. "It's a marvelous place but very primitive." In Guadalajara trio laid over for an extended visit with their friends, the Marins. Edward and Tina had arranged an exhibition of their work at the State Museum to coincide with their arrival.  

Brett's appearance and attitude commanded attention wherever he went. At thirteen, he was taller than his father, well built. blue-eyed and blonde. His boyhood freckles were disappearing and he faced the world with a remarkably open and self-assured countenance, Edward acknowledged his son‘s personal charisma in his daybook recording of the first days en-route to Mexico. He saw the boy in his irresistible way, making friends with all the crew.

Some of Brett's self assurance was bravado. The Marin's son "Pancho" introduced Brett to his sister at the opening of the Guadalajara exhibit. "He had a beautiful sister about sixteen...Oh! Green eyes. just a raving beauty. I was just barely thirteen, not quite thirteen, but I knew about the facts of life. I was blonde and as tall as she... but she was a full-blown woman of sixteen. Just ripe! She asked me to go for a walk in the courtyard of an old convent where the exhibition was... She asked me to go for a walk and | wouldn't go. I was too shy. I wanted to, but you know how kids are, I backed away." Why Brett shied away from this particular encounter is mystifying. His seduction by Bessie occurred at an age when he was probably not overly self-conscious. Possibly, he was self-aware enough at thirteen to be intimidated by a young woman's attention.

Aside from his cousin it is unclear whether or not Brett had other sexual experiences before Mexico, He never spoke of it. and yet it is certain that he had several "girlfriends" before he left. It would not, in any case, be the only opportunity presented to him in Mexico…