National Portrait Gallery, London
Pioneering American photographer William Eggleston is renowned for his vivid, poetic and mysterious images. The most comprehensive display of his portrait photography ever, with100 works displayed, surveys Eggleston’s full career from the 1960s to the present day.
Eggleston is celebrated for his experimental use of colour and his solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1976 is considered a pivotal moment in the recognition of colour photography as a contemporary art form. Highlights of the exhibition included the monumental prints of two legendary photographs first seen forty years ago: the artist’s uncle Adyn Schuyler Senior with his assistant Jasper Staples in Cassidy Bayou, Mississippi, and Devoe Money in Jackson, Mississippi.
Also on display was a selection of never-before seen vintage black and white prints from the 1960s. Featuring people in diners, petrol stations and markets in and around the artist’s home in Memphis, Tennessee, they help illustrate Eggleston’s unique view of the world.
I felt that there was a sense of overlapping of Egglestone's perspective and mine in that it he was, in a sense, cataloguing people on his travels, recording a moment through a lens and embracing that. Egglestone is reknowned for using film and therefore is far more conservative with taking imagery versus the digital age that almost encourages and invites the taking of a multitude of images. It then becomes a different criteria of working through multiple images and could complicate and elongate the procsess. However, I still feel that when I see the image I wish to translate into a painting I know that I have the essential ingredients to work from.
A really interesting exhibition that I felt overlapped my practice. Eccleston's work was known to me but more from his landscape perspective.