William Eggleston: From Black and White to Color
Text by Thomas Weski
At the end of the 1950s William Eggleston began to photograph around his home in Memphis using black-and-white 35mm film. Fascinated by the photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eggleston declared at the time: "I couldn't imagine doing anything more than making a perfect fake Cartier-Bresson. " Eventually Eggleston developed his own style which later shaped his seminal work in color—an original vision of the American everyday with its icons of banality: supermarkets, diners, service stations, automobiles, and ghostly figures lost in space. From Black and White to Color includes some exceptional as-yet-unpublished photographs, and displays the evolution, ruptures and above all the radicalness of Eggleston's work when he began photographing in color at the end of the 1960s. Here we discover similar obsessions and recurrent themes as present in his early black-and-white work including ceilings, food, and scenes of waiting, as well as Eggleston\s unconventional croppings-all definitive traits of the photographer who famously proclaimed, "I am at war with the obvious."
Artists: William Eggleston
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 7 x 9 1/2 in (17.8 x 24.1 cm)
Reproductions: illustrated throughout
Retail: $45 | £32
William Eggleston was born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in the Mississippi Delta. He has lived in Memphis for the majority of his life. Since the 1970s, Eggleston’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions worldwide and work by the artist is held in major international museums. In 1975, he received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and since then has been the recipient of numerous notable awards, including the University of Memphis Distinguished Achievement Award (1996); Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1998); International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement (2004); Getty Images Lifetime Achievement Award (2004); and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, République Française (Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic) (2016).