Thursday, June 11, 2009

William Eggleston's Guide

"William Eggleston's Guide was the first one-man show of color photographs ever presented at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museum's first publication of color photography. The reception was divided and passionate. The book and show unabashedly forced the art world to deal with color photography, a medium scarcely taken seriously at the time, and with the vernacular content of a body of photographs that could have been but definitely weren't some average American's Instamatic pictures from the family album...The Guide contained 48 images edited down from 375 shot between 1969 and 1971 and displayed a deceptively casual, actually super-refined look at the surrounding world. Here are people, landscapes, and odd little moments in and around Eggleston's hometown of Memphis." (From the product description)

This reissue of an early show catalog by one of my favorite photographers is a faithful facsimile of the original. The texture of the cover makes it very pleasant to handle.


This book contains more photographs of people than most of his later work.

Whitehaven, Mississippi

What I love about them is how they quietly hint at the story behind them, imparting a bit of mystery. What is this person doing in the garage? Are they hurt? Just taking a nap? Squatting there?

Jackson, Mississippi

Black Bayou Plantation, near Glendora, Mississippi

I love this one--how did the bottles end up there? It implies the presence of someone who was in the frame not long before.

Jackson, Mississippi

I love the lighting in this one.

Sumner, Mississippi

Morton, Mississippi

I imagine there is a good story behind this one.

Outskirts of Morton, Mississippi, Halloween, 1971

Huntsville, Alabama

This one feels a little uneasy to me, like he is contemplating some grave thoughts.

Near Jackson, Mississippi

It is hard to articulate, but there is something so beautiful about this colorful coat hanging on a bare, filthy wall.

The man behind the camera.

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