The photography of William Eggleston
A native Southerner raised on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, Eggleston has created a singular portrait of his native South since the late 1960s. After discovering photography in the early 1960s, he abandoned a traditional education and instead learned from photographically illustrated books by Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Frank. Although he began his career making black-and-white images, he soon abandoned them to experiment with color technology to record experiences in more sensual and accurate terms at a time when color photography was largely confined to commercial advertising. In 1976 with the support of John Szarkowski, the influential photography historian, critic, and curator, Eggleston mounted “Color Photographs” a now famous exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. William Eggleston’s Guide , in which Szarkowski called Eggleston’s photographs “perfect,” accompanied this groundbreaking one-person show that established his reputation as a pioneer of color photography. His subjects were mundane, everyday, often trivial, so that the real subject was seen to be color itself. These images helped establish Eggleston as one of the first non-commercial photographers working in color and inspired a new generation of photographers, as well as filmmakers.
Eggleston has published his work extensively. He continues to live and work in Memphis, and travels considerably for photographic projects. (x)
…Near the village of Braachaat, outside Antwerp, Belgium. The last photo shows a grotto-like cave under the mansion that may have been used as a bar in the past.
It is truly a strange thing when a steam pipe bursts under an abandoned building in the dead of winter, but that’s exactly what happened under the Clinic Building at Greystone Park State Hospital in 2007, a month before the building was unceremoniously knocked down. The steam congregated near the ceiling of the abandoned asylum infirmary, condensing on the pipes and dripping down in regular patterns - and creating these ice stalagmites. An hour after taking this photograph, demolition workers came into the building and chased us through the tunnels; we had to hide in an attic in 0 degree weather for hours while cops searched for us. The next time I drove out there, there was no trace that a building had ever stood in this spot.
"Let’s turn on the juice and see what shakes loose." - Beetlejuice (1988)
William Miller - Ruined Polaroids (2011)
"These pictures are taken with a camera that is, by most definitions, broken: an old Polaroid SX-70 camera. With its first use I realized the camera wasn’t functioning properly. It sometimes spills out 2 pictures at a time and the film often gets stuck in the gears, exposing and mangling them in unpredictable ways. The image as it is exposed within the camera becomes pulled and stressed by these violent mechanisms, often to abstraction. Each one is determined by the idiosyncrasies of the film and the camera.
This project, Ruined Polaroids, is an unintended exploration into the 3-dimensional physical character of an antiquated photographic medium that touches on subjects such as the nature of chance, destruction and what constitutes a photograph.”
- Artists’ Statement on Ruined Polaroids
Visual Development from It’s A Small World by Mary Blair