Thompson, Dody Weston
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April 11, 1923 - October 14, 2012
Dody Weston Thompson, award-winning photographer, noted writer, lecturer, assistant to photography icons Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, and creative collaborator with former husband Brett Weston, died at 8:30am on Sunday, October 14, 2012 in Los Angeles. She was 89. Known simply as "Dody," the adventuresome Louisianan was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. The West Coast Photographic Movement was steadily ascending the artistic scene in the 1930s. Dody joined the revolutionary trend in the late 1940s and earned her place as the last member of the original generation of West Coast photographers. Dody studied at Tulane University in New Orleans and Black Mountain College in North Carolina in the early 1940s. Her career in photography spanned 56 years, from 1947 until 2003. During her first forty years, she photographed extensively throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, France, Italy, Mexico and Japan. In 1952, her black and white images of California earned her the prestigious Alfred M. Bender award from the San Francisco Museum of Art. She also exhibited her work throughout the country and internationally, and her photographs are permanently housed in a number of private and public collections. She was as well a highly regarded writer and lecturer on the history and craft of photography, the West Coast Movement and the legacy of Edward Weston, sharing her knowledge with audiences in dozens of museums, art institutions and publications worldwide. In the last decades of her life she focused primarily on exhibiting, writing and lecturing. She took her final black and white photograph in 1966 and her last color photograph in 1991, which is of the Arco Plaza fountain in downtown Los Angeles. In 2006, Dody received a Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature Assembly for "her extraordinary contribution to the field of fine art photography, [her] work as a writer and as one of the founders of Aperture magazine."
Dody Weston Thompson was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Daniel Michel Thompson (2008) and her brother Alvin Berton Harrison (2011). She is survived by two nieces, Helen C. Harrison of Cle Elum, Washington; Sallie K. Harrison of Snohomish, Washington; three nephews, Philip Harrison of Seattle, Washington; Berton Harrison of Oceanside, California; and Howard K. Harrison of Great Bend, Kansas. She is also survived by grandnephews Sky Harrison of Maui, Hawaii; Troy Johnson of Victorville, California; and by grandniece Shawna Harrison of Carlsbad, California. Her photography is represented by James Danziger Gallery and by Daniel Cooney Fine Art, both of New York. In lieu of flowers, donations in Dody's honor may be sent to the Sierra Club.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 1, 2012