(b Memphis, TN, July 27, 1939).
American photographer. Eggleston first became interested in photography in 1962 when he was introduced to the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson. By 1966 he had begun to photograph almost exclusively in colour. Eggleston is regarded as a pioneer among contemporary photographers in the exploration of the artistic potential of colour photography, which had been out of favour because of the impermanence of its tones and its supposed incompatibility with the formal interests of artistic photography. His work came to public attention in the 1970s when it was featured in several exhibitions, notably in 1976 when his one-man show William Eggleston’s Guide was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Eggleston’s large-format prints of snapshot-like subject-matter create icons out of images from everyday life in the south-east United States. Demonstrating his sensitivity to combinations of highly saturated secondary and tertiary colour, they explore the television-like, superreal intensity normally achieved through dye-transfer prints. These prints monumentalize ordinary scenes of his native south, such as a wisteria-shrouded pick-up truck, a table set for dinner, or the lavender and aquamarine tiles surrounding a Memphis bathtub, and focus upon the environments of cultural heroes of the south. For his series ...