May 25, 2010

William Eggleston

The first page of any comprehensive contemporary photography book worth reading will mention William Eggleston. In an essay by John Szarkowski from 1976 (yes very dated, but nevertheless timeless), Eggleston is noted as the first photographer to break the mold of 'traditional photography'. Not unlike a slideshow of uninteresting family photographs, Eggleston's photographs display ordinary people, doing ordinary things. Or so he'd have us believe. "We have been told so often of the bland, synthetic smoothness of exemplary American life, of its comfortable, vacant insentience, its extruded, stamped, and molded sameness, in a word its irredeemable dullness, that we have come half to believe it.."(Szarkowski), however, we are exhilarated to see this familiarity in photography. Of course, by now, we are used to photographs recording daily routine. But, when these photographs were taken in the mid1960s and 1970s, Eggleston's style was novel and refreshing. To me, it still is. I find Eggleston's work humourous and timeless. Its the perfect record of America in finest form.

It's interesting to read essays about how photographers isolate a particular scene and present it however they want the public to view it. Because, in a way, thats what I am doing here. Eggleston has hundreds of brilliant photographs, but I chose these ones in particular because of how I want you to view him. I want you to like what I like about him. Eggleston through my eyes.

See him through your own eyes here @ (all images and sources from his website)

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