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The F Stops Here

Charis Wilson
Charis Wilson was one of Edward Weston's most famous nude models. She married the photographer in 1938. The couple lived in Carmel and together wrote numerous essays on photography and the arts.

Charis Wilson

One of this century's most celebrated nude models, Charis Wilson's corporeal presence will live on in the world-famous works of photographer Edward Weston long after her spirit has moved on. Wilson, who married Weston in 1938, has given little thought to her final wishes. "I don't think it's my job to worry about it," Wilson points out wisely. But, if pressed, she admits she'd like to have a celebration where a good time is had by all. It's a chance for old friends to get together and visit, she says, and she just wants to know there'll be enough to eat and drink for all.

"There was a time when even this aspect of death seemed horrible to me," she says, because of her distaste for the funeral industry. "But I do understand the desire for ceremony and for people to get together and do something."

Wilson leans toward cremation. "Definitely! You have to be ecologically sound these days," she says. As far as what follows the ashes-to-ashes cycle, Wilson figures, "That's it. I think you have all the chance you're going to get when you're alive to make your impression on those around you. And when you're through, you're through."

The famed model has just finished her memoirs and turned them over to the publisher. Perhaps this has given Wilson a more objective view of the whole shebang. "If you live until your 80s, your faculties get pared down little by little," Wilson notes. "And one day, they're gone."

She thinks about this for a moment. "I seem not to have changed my mind about this."

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From the Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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