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Bill's artful snapshots
on 8 April 2003
William Eggleston's photos grow on you. Look through this book for the first time and the contents seem a bit like ordinary snapshots but look again and then again and with each viewing the images become more familiar (still with something fresh to discover each time) but now they start to blend together seamlessly. One reason for this, I think, is that the photos capture the everyday and the ordinary. Taken around Eggleston's hometown of Memphis and in the Deep South, they show some of his relations, street scenes, interiors, buildings and more, though the captions only state the locations. John Szarkowski says in the books introduction "..today's most radical and suggestive colour photography derives much of its vigor from commonplace models" This capturing of the everyday and in colour divided the critics in 1976 when the Museum of Modern Art used seventy-five of Egglestons's images for their first exhibition of colour photography. The 'Guide' unfortunately only shows forty-eight from the show.
Art photography until this exhibition was in black and white and had been for years, colour photos were mostly for ads, commercial print and snapshots. Thankfully the Museum's curator of photography, Szarkowski, had the good sense to allow the public to see something new and fresh. I think the 'Guide' is a good introduction to Eggleston and if you like his creative vision, as I do, have a look at these two books of his work:The Democratic Forest and Ancient & Modern. Both are full of wonderful colour photos of the American everyday.
+++LOOK AT SOME INSIDE SPREADS by clicking 'customer images' below the cover.