In 1927, not long after his return to California from Mexico, Weston became interested in the pepper as a form. His Mexican period was an important step in organizing his way of seeing. While there he began to address objects in his everyday world as potential subject matter. He turned his focus to the pure qualities of his subjects form and how it filled a space, tightly cropping it within the frame.
In 1929, he settled into a studio in Carmel, where he would essentially remain until his death. He was already working with other natural forms; shells and vegetables. Taking up the pepper again, he concentrated on it for much of that year and well into 1930, when he made the image offered here. He described "I have been working so enthusiastically with the two peppers, - stimulated as I have not been for months...They are like carved obsidian, and can be placed in with my finest expression." (Daybooks II, pp. 128-131.)
Producing nearly thirty different images in a four day period in August 1930, it was then that he first set the pepper in the funnel setting seen here. "It was a bright idea, a perfect relief for the pepper and adding relecting light to important contours. I still had the pepper which caused me a week's work, I had decided I could go no further with it, yet something kept me from taking it to the kitchen, the end of all good peppers. I placed it in the funnel, focused with the Zeiss, and, knowing just the viewpoint, recognizing a perfect light, made an exposure of six minutes, with but a few moments' preliminary work, the real preliminary was done in hours passed. I have a great negative, - by far the best!" (op. cit., p. 180.)