Filtering by Category: William Eggleston

William Eggleston's The Democratic Forest: The Godfather of Color Photography is a Poet

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William Eggleston, portrait by Adam Lehrer

William Eggleston, portrait by Adam Lehrer

William Eggleston: The Democratic Forest

By:Adam Lehrer

William Eggleston’s photographs didn’t immediately have an impact on me. When I started taking pictures regularly, making artwork and studying photography, I initially found myself captivated by fine art photographers like Larry Clark, Nan Goldin, Richard Kern, Nick Knight’s Skinhead book, and later Ryan McGinley, Wolfgang Tillmans and Dash Snow. These photographers offered me a visual portal into worlds that I was either curious about or desperately wanted to be a part of. Images of glamorous downtown artists, drug abuse, delinquent behavior and moments of anguish accented by expressions of ecstatic joy. These photographers’ work gave me a glimpse of a life that I wanted to live, and also provided me hope that with a camera (and a laptop) I could find my entry into their worlds, or at least my own version of their worlds. Eggleston’s work, on the other hand, isn’t as immediately provocative. His focus has always been on iconography of the mundane: street signs, middle American shops, and ceiling fans have always been his language. 

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An Afternoon with William Eggleston - W Magazine

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An Afternoon with William Eggleston, living icon - W MAGAZINE
A visit with the 77-year old American photographer, whose democratic vision remains surprising and relevant in 2016
By Alexandra Pechman, photos by Eric Chakeen on 26 October 2016

Photo by Eric Chakeen

Photo by Eric Chakeen

From being honored at Aperture Foundation's Annual Fall Benefit, an exhibition at David Zwirner NYC, a cover story for New York Times Style Magazine, to an interview for W Magazine, the art world cannot get enough of William Eggleston.  A re-edition of The Democratic Forest accompanies the new selection of works on exhibit at Zwirner and almost every major publication is reviewing and interviewing the artist.  The resurgence of popularity is certainly well documented.  Here are our favorite sections in Eggleston's W Magazine interview below:

As ever, he cut a deliberately dapper figure, dressed for our interview in a crisp white shirt, a patterned ascot tie, and black oxford shoes with a neatly tied bow. “I think one should look great,” he said by way of explanation. He balanced an American Spirit between his ring and middle fingers — he is hardly ever not smoking — and held a Leica m3 that he noted had once belonged to Lee Friedlander. Eggleston still photographs nearly every day. Though his pictures have no particular geographic center of gravity, his own personal mythology still owes much to his time in New York in the 70's, when he showed the first all-color photography exhibition at MoMA, lived at the Chelsea Hotel, and hung out with the likes of Viva, Patti Smith, and Lou Reed.

The Democratic Forest is a series Eggleston shot across America from 1983 to 1986, and which was originally published in 1989 with a selection of 150 images from thousands of photographs. Last year, Steidl published a 10-volume box set of about 150 pages each — that's nearly 1,500 images total. And now David Zwirner Books has published a further selection from "The Democratic Forest," to accompany the gallery's show. It helps explain Eggleston’s oft-cited refrain that he doesn’t care about anyone’s pictures except his own.

“That’s the truth,” he declared. “There are plenty of other fine people out there. But I spend most of my time looking at my own things. There’s so many to look at. It takes up a lot of time.”

Eggleston has never been one to to read about photography, however, noting that most critics “talk to hear themselves talk.” He prefers to read technical books about quantum physics. “People I feel I’m closest to would be Stephen Hawking and my deceased friend Carl Sagan. I wasn’t born at the right time to know Mr. Einstein,” he said, with a wry smile. “I think we’re doing the same thing, strange as that sounds. After all the study, images, … [physics] sums up very simply, like [photography], probability. Not to be confused with possibility or what can be accurately predicted. It’s just something that probably will happen.”

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The Oxford Eagle features William Eggleston in 'University Museum is a Treasure'

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By The Oxford Eagle Editorial Board


The University of Mississippi Museum has emerged over the past decade as a cornerstone of the growing, thriving, enlightened Oxford and Ole Miss community.

Nothing illustrates this better than the ongoing exhibit “The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston,” featuring 36 color and black-and-white photographs from the renowned photographer.

Sponsored by Friends of the Museum, active supporters who have helped the University Museum increase its reach and presence in recent years, the Eggleston exhibit is one of the region’s more notable to come along in years.

Opening in September and running through January 14, the Eggleston exhibition features photographs from the museum’s permanent collection and others never before exhibited.

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William Eggleston is to Photography what William Faulkner was to Writing - Mississippi Today

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"When William “Bill” Ferris served as the founding director for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, he was concerned that the university didn’t own much work by William Faulkner, acclaimed internationally for his short stories and novels set in North Mississippi.
Ferris took it upon himself to organize a fundraising effort to purchase Faulkner’s Rowan Oak papers.  Around the same time, Ferris met famed photographer William J. Eggleston through mutual friends in Memphis and they became fast friends."

William Eggleston,  Untitled , 1981.  Gift of William Ferris, University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses.

William Eggleston, Untitled, 1981.  Gift of William Ferris, University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses.

Ferris began purchasing the prints and, in time, amassed a good collection. Realizing that Eggleston was to photography what Faulkner was to writing, Ferris decided to donate his collection of Eggleston prints to the university in the 1980s. Thanks to his generosity, the University Museum at Ole Miss has 54 Eggleston prints in its permanent collection.

An exclusive exhibition of 36 color and black-and-white Eggleston photographs from the museum’s permanent collection, “The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston,” will run through Jan. 14, 2017."

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Photographer William Eggleston pioneered use of colour at MOMA

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William Eggleston’s Greenwood, Mississippi (1973). Collection National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

William Eggleston’s Greenwood, Mississippi (1973). Collection National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

In May 1976, a photography exhibition opened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art that The New York Times described as the “most hated show of the year” and The Village Voice as “some sort of con”.

The principal reason for all the vitriol? The photographer, William Eggleston, had the audacity to print his images in colour.

Looking back, it may seem ludicrous there was such contempt for colour photography. However, at the time black-and-white was the prevailing aesthetic and colour photography was the realm of advertising. Furthermore, influential photographer Walker Evans had described colour as “vulgar”.

Despite the negative response, that MoMA exhibition is considered the moment when colour photography became an art form. With just one exhibition, Eggleston managed to show how the use of saturated colour could transcend its commercial origins. He suddenly made colour legitimate and he is often described as the greatest colourist in photographic history.

But colour wasn’t the critics’ only gripe. Eggleston was also lampooned for his choice of ordinary, nondescript subjects, such as a child’s tricycle, a man on a phone and a woman in curlers. He once famously remarked that “I’ve been photographing democratically” to sum up his approach. He also documented his personal life: his wife and children, but also the drug and alcohol-fuelled parties with musicians and artists, and his long-term lovers, such as Viva, one of Andy Warhol’s “superstars”. He is also renowned for taking only one photo of any subject, never a second shot.

For entire read please visit TheAustralian.

AnOtherMag Presents: Inside the Mind of Seminal Photographer William Eggleston

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William Eggleston , 2016, Photography by Chris Rhodes

William Eggleston, 2016, Photography by Chris Rhodes

The godfather of colour photography answers Jefferson Hack's take on the Proust Questionnaire. His interview is accompanied by an original portrait shot by Eggleston devotee, Chris Rhodes.

Three weeks ago, William Eggleston made a rare appearance at David Zwirner Gallery in Mayfair, London to host a book signing of the accompanying tome to his magnificent new exhibition William Eggleston: Portraits, currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery. As one might expect, the 77-year-old, Tennessee-born photographer – whose revolutionary, five-decade strong opus has inspired generations of artists including David Lynch, Nan Goldin and Jeff Wall – drew an impressively large and diverse crowd, itself indicative of his superlative influence. One such attendee was British photographer and AnOther Magazine contributor Chris Rhodes, who seized the opportunity to take Eggleston's portrait [seen above] to mark the occasion. "To me, he's the greatest living photographer. I admire his visionary use of colour, turning colour photography into an art form – the simple yet profound way of photographing the mundane while ultimately creating visual poetry," mused Rhodes, adding...

Please visit AnOther Mag for comlpte read and questionnaire with Jefferson Hack

What makes William Eggleston's ordinary photographs so extraordinary?

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Though they’re presented as portraits, the images in this National Portrait Gallery show aren’t really portraiture. They’re much more ambiguous than that

Martin Gayford

‘Untitled’, c.1971, by William Eggleston

‘Untitled’, c.1971, by William Eggleston

In 1965 William Eggleston took the first colour photograph that, he felt, really succeeded. The location was outside a supermarket in Memphis, Tennessee; the time — to judge from the rich golden light and long shadows — late afternoon. Eggleston’s subject — a young man with a heavily slicked, early Elvis hairstyle stacking trolleys outside the shop — was as ordinary as he could be. But the result was a photographic masterpiece.

It is included in the exhibition William Eggleston: Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, although, by most definitions, it is not a portrait. Indeed, it is as hard to say just what it is as it is to explain exactly why it is so good.

The catalogue essay by the curator, Phillip Prodger, recounts how the photographer was once pressed to explain a shot of his infant son lying asleep in bed (pictured above). Is this a meditation on childhood, or a commemoration of this boy at a tender age? No, Eggleston insisted, sounding a bit vexed, ‘It’s something more ambiguous than that.’

Complete read at The Spectator.