Friday, November 7, 2008

One Picture of One Picture

William Eggleston: Democratic Camera (Photographs and Video, 1961–2008) opens today at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It is perhaps lucky for those of us who will miss it that Eggleston's work reads very well on the web—the backlighting of a computer monitor provides some semblance of the intense color in his dye-transfer prints.

Color photography can be considered in the realm of "art" almost singlehandedly because of William Eggleston's one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1976, curated by John Szarkowski. This show the Whitney is only his second one-man show in the United States.

It presents a huge survey of his work, including a recent re-edit of his film Stranded in Canton, shot in the early '70s. As the Times critic Holland Cotter puts it, "road trips and craziness were cool, and Mr. Eggleston set out on some hard-drinking picture-taking excursions. He also embarked on repeated shorter expeditions closer to home in the form of epic bar crawls…Mr. Eggleston would show up with friends at favorite bars, turn on his Sony Portapak, push the camera into people’s faces and encourage them to carry on."

Here are some clips:

There was also a documentary a few years ago called William Eggleston in the Real World. (Forgive me if you already know all this stuff, I'm just trying to, you know, surround the story.)

Here's the trailer:

Many more photos, film clips, writings, etc. can be found at

Click here to read the New York Times review and here to read a story on Eggleston from W Magazine, which includes this Juergen Teller portrait of the man:

More info on the Whitney exhibition, which runs now through January 25, 2009, can be found at

1 comment:

The Know-All said...

Went last night to see this! (it's free on Friday night, and you know, the economy and all...) Not too much of a madhouse, either.

It was excellent. I have never gotten to see so many of his pieces and such a wide range of his work all in one place. I wish the pieces had been lit a bit better, as I felt that some of the colors seemed "shadowed" and dulled down but maybe my eyes are going. Or maybe a more direct light wasn't good for the prints.