2015-07-21 Tributes have been pouring in for Hasselblad Master and internationally acclaimed fashion photographer Stuart Weston who has died at the age of 59 at his Camber Sands, East Sussex home.
Stuart, who had been delighted to accept a juror role at the next Hasselblad Masters judging event, was hugely popular with photographers and creative photography lovers both in the UK and abroad.
His enviable client list included Vogue (Brazil), Harpers & Queen Magazine, L’Oreal (New York, Paris and London), Virgin Records, Adidas, M&C Saatchi, Harvey Nichols and Harrods.
Colin Ellis, a former assistant said: “Stuart was always far more than just a fashion and beauty photographer. He was a true image-maker in the widest possible sense. He possessed a rare talent for design and branding and unlike many of today’s contemporary photographers whose work can sometimes look quite snapshot with little technical ability, Stuart’s work always displayed a strong signature.”
He added: “I often marvelled at his ability to go into a studio and, as if by magic, produce beautiful original work with little more than a roll of Colorama and a few lights.”
Stuart’s former PA and studio manager Sarah Cresswell (now a successful fashion photographer in her own right) told Hasselblad: “Photography has lost a real master and a beautiful man. Stuart was my mentor; my boss for five years; and my very good friend. He showed me that fashion photography was a great way to be creative but also a good way to earn a living.
I would describe him as both a brilliant person but also quite fantastical. He loved the spiritual side of life. Some of his work could be quite dark and moody but he had a lot of soul and a lot of love in him. Once he loved a person he would just give and give. But he was also a very tough northerner and if he didn’t like something you would soon know about it.”
She added: “He had a unique and magical presence in a studio. But the biggest thing about Stuart was he knew how to both work and have fun. Before he switched to a Hasselblad digital camera this man could shoot an entire campaign just using two sheets of 5×4. He could look at the model upside down and back to front and still nail the whole thing on those two sheets of film.
He was very honoured to have been made a Hasselblad Master in 2007 and I know he was looking forward to sitting on the panel for the next judging.
Stuart just wanted his life to be an adventure – just a couple of months ago we had been kicking around an idea to build a YouTube channel showing aspirational photographers how to shoot film on a 5×4 camera.”
Hasselblad’s International Sales Director Michele Channer said: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic news. Stuart was truly an imaging industry icon and greatly admired by us all. The Hasselblad Masters Awards are given in recognition of a photographer’s contribution to the art of photography – and Stuart, who was also an accomplished painter, shared that stage with names like Albert Watson, Anton Corbjin and Patrick Demarchelier.”
She added: “Stuart certainly lived his life to the full. He had revealed to us that he had once been shot at in Miami, mistaken for a rock star in New York; treated like royalty by students at The College of Art in Bangkok and threatened with an assault rifle in The Everglades.
But I recall seeing his answer to the question: What does Hasselblad mean to you? And he replied; ‘It is a good name which I can trust’.
Stuart too had a good name that everyone could trust. He will be greatly missed.”