Eggleston’s Time Capsule Goes Back to the Future

  • Images featured are from the: Festival of Photography: William Eggleston Portraits. An exhibition of his photographs of family and friends, casual acquaintances and strangers in a series of eloquent, poetic and character studies.
  • Many of the images are from the artists personal archive and are exhibited for the first time. Exhibition organised by the National Portrait Gallery London with support from the artist and the Eggleston Artistic Trust and presented by the National Gallery of Victoria.

Few photographers of the 20th Century have had such a profound influence on contemporary photographic portraits as the American photographer William Eggleston who was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1939.  Although Eggleston is not usually regarded as a portraitist, pictures of people have long been central to his practice.

  • Photographed near this home in Memphis and in the Mississippi delta where he grew up, many of his images depict friends and family.
  • Still more are of strangers – taken unawares and performing everyday tasks such as dining, shopping or waiting for a bus.
  • These spontaneous and unconventional pictures pose deep questions about humanity, self, memory and experience.

The main catalyst for New American Photography, Eggleston is credited with legitimizing colour photography (using the dye transfer process) as a fine art form. Teaching himself from books of prints by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, he began photographing his environment in the 1950s but turned to colour, then used largely only commercially, in the late 1960s.

Initially Eggleston photographed in colour using readily available films which he sent to drugstore laboratories for processing and printing. In his search for what he called the ‘ultimate quality colour print’, in the early 1970s, Eggleston happened upon  the dye transfer process, a close cousin of Technicolor in cinema film. Marketed by Kodak since the 1930s, dye transfer had until that point been used mainly for high-end commercial work. Eggleston began to use it for artistic purposes and his 1976 exhibition ‘Photographs by William Eggleston‘, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Images That Tell a Story |  Real Life |  Memories | Captured Forever

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