Date of Lecture: 1996-03-22
William Eggleston first became interested in photography in 1962 and by 1966 he had begun to work almost exclusively in colour. He quickly became a pioneer among contemporary photographers for his explorations of a medium that was largely neglected at the time. Demonstrating his sensitivity to saturated tonal combinations, Eggleston’s dye-transfer prints monumentalize snapshot-like subject-matter, creating icons out of scenes of everyday life taken in the south-eastern United States.
Eggleston’s work was brought to public prominence by the 1976 solo show, William Eggleston’s Guide, held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. For his series Election Eve (1976) he photographed the barren streets of Plains, Georgia on the eve before the election of President Carter. Graceland (1984), a portfolio of interiors from Elvis Presley’s estate in Memphis, documents the kitschy predilections of the late American idol. A selection of Eggleston’s work from the 1980s is featured in the publication, The Democratic Forest (1989).
The exhibition, William Eggleston and the Color Tradition, which explored American color photography over the last 30 years, was held at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1999. Eggleston’s work was also the subject of a 2001 retrospective exhibition at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain in Paris, and in 2002, he was included in Documenta 11 in Kassel Germany.
Eggleston is the recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and in 1998, he received The Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography.
Additional Links: http://www.egglestontrust.com/