William Eggleston's Guide
About the book
William Eggleston's Guide was the first one-man show of colour photographs ever presented at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museum's first publication of colour photography. The reception was divided and passionate. The book and show unabashedly forced the art world to deal with colour 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 person's Instamatic pictures from the family album. These photographs heralded a new mastery of the use of colour as an integral element of photographic composition. Bound in a textured cover inset with a photograph of a tricycle and stamped with yearbook-style gold lettering, the Guide contained 48 images edited down from 375 shot between 1969 and 1971 and displayed a deceptively casual, actually superrefined look at the surrounding world. Here are people, landscapes and odd little moments in and around Eggleston's home town of Memphis - an anonymous woman in a loudly patterned dress and cat's eye glasses sitting, left leg slightly raised, on an equally loud outdoor sofa; a coal-fired barbecue shooting up in flames, framed by a shiny silver tricycle; the curves of a gleaming black car fender, and someone's torso; a tiny, grey-haired lady in a faded, flowered housecoat, standing expectant, and dwarfed in the huge dark doorway of a mint-green room whose only visible furniture is a shaded lamp on an end table. For this edition of William Eggleston's Guide, The Museum of Modern Art has made new colour separations from the original 35mm slides, producing a facsimile edition in which the colour will be freshly responsive to the photographer's intentions.
William Eggleston Biography
William Eggleston (born July 27, 1939) is an American photographer. He is widely credited with increasing recognition for color photography as a legitimate artistic medium. Eggleston's books include William Eggleston's Guide (1976) and The Democratic Forest (1989).
Early yearsWilliam Eggleston was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in Sumner, Mississippi. His father was an engineer and his mother was the daughter of a prominent local judge. As a boy, Eggleston was introverted; he enjoyed playing the piano, drawing, and working with electronics. From an early age, he was also drawn to visual media and reportedly enjoyed buying postcards and cutting out pictures from magazines. At the age of 15, Eggleston was sent to the Webb School, a boarding establishment. Eggleston later recalled few fond memories of the school, telling a reporter, "It had a kind of Spartan routine to 'build character'. I never knew what that was supposed to mean. It was so callous and dumb. It was the kind of place where it was considered effeminate to like music and painting." Eggleston was unusual among his peers in eschewing the traditional Southern male pursuits of hunting and sports, in favor of artistic pursuits and observation of the world. Nevertheless, Eggleston noted that he never felt like an outsider. "I never had the feeling that I didn't fit in," he told a reporter, "But probably I didn't."Eggleston attended Vanderbilt University for a year, Delta State College for a semester, and the University of Mississippi for about five years, but did not complete any degree. Nonetheless, his interest in photography took root when a friend at Vanderbilt gave Eggleston a Leica camera. He was introduced to abstract expressionism at Ole Miss by visiting painter Tom Young.
Artistic developmentEggleston's early photographic efforts were inspired by the work of Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank, and by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's book, The Decisive Moment. Eggleston later recalled that the book was "the first serious book I found, from many awful books...I didn't understand it a bit, and then it sank in, and I realized, my God, this is a great one." First photographing in black-and-white, Eggleston began experimenting with color in 1965 and 1966 after being introduced to the format by William Christenberry. Color transparency film became his dominant medium in the later 1960s. Eggleston's development as a photographer seems to have taken place in relative isolation from other artists. In an interview, John Szarkowski describes his first encounter with the young Eggleston in 1969 as being "absolutely out of the blue". After reviewing Eggleston's work (which he recalled as a suitcase full of "drugstore" color prints) Szarkowski prevailed upon the Photography Committee of MoMA to buy one of Eggleston's photographs. In 1970, Eggleston's friend William Christenberry introduced him to Walter Hopps, director of Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran Gal ... Read full biography
|Authors:||William Eggleston John Szarkowski|
|Publisher:||MUSEUM OF MODERN ART|
|Languages:||| English ||
|Edition Statement:||2nd 2002. Corr. 2nd Printing ed.|
|Illustrations:||1 Illustrations, black and white; 48 Illustrations, color|
|Publication date:||Oct. 21, 2002|
|First Publication Date:||None|
|Publication City/Country:||New York, United States|