William Eggleston

“AT THIS WRITING I have not yet visited Memphis, or northern Mississippi, as thus have no basis for judging how closely the photographs in the book might seem to resemble that part of the world and the life that is lived there. I have, however, visited other places described by works of art, and have observed that the poem or picture is likely to seem a faithful document if we get to know it first and the unedited reality afterwards – whereas a new work of art that describes something we had known well is likely to seem as unfamiliar and arbitrary as our own passport photos.” – John Szarkowski

The introductory paragraph to a book by William Eggleston’s named ‘William Eggleston’s Guide’. For many years now I have found the work of Eggleston very inspirational and recently I was given this book, which has been a big help for me during my current project. I always find the way Eggleston manages to capture a place fascinating, by the very objective and structured framing he puts around these locations.

Like the opening paragraph says about the work of art acting as a faithful document, if you get to know the unedited reality afterwards, I believe I would not be able to view this place any differently after seeing Eggleston’s work. This has had a great influence on my current project as after viewing this work I have wanted to create that same affect, where my images would act as that faithful document to my environment and my life.

I think that from the first experience of Eggleston’s work I had in college I have ever since been attempting to photograph the world as he would. I do not know exactly why it is I feel a great empathy towards his work but whenever I go to photograph something I think of how would Eggleston do it and I think that through his work I have started to develop a style of my own. I love how simple the world looks in his work and even though a lot of thought goes into each one, they just seem effortless. Everything he captures turns from something ordinary or dull into something fascinating and important.

Thanks to this book I now have a clearer understanding of how I would like to tell the story of a place.

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