William Eggleston's Guide

By William Eggleston; William Eggleston (Photographer); John Szarkowski (Essay by)
(Museum of Modern Art, Hardcover, 9780870703782, 110pp.)

Publication Date: October 2002

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Description
"William Eggleston's Guide" was the first one-man show of color photographs ever presented at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museum's first publication of color photography. The reception was divided and passionate. The book and show unabashedly forced the art world to deal with color photography, a medium scarcely taken seriously at the time, and with the vernacular content of a body of photographs that could have been but definitely weren't some average American's Instamatic pictures from the family album. These photographs heralded a new mastery of the use of color as an integral element of photographic composition. Bound in a textured cover inset with a photograph of a tricycle and stamped with yearbook-style gold lettering, the "Guide" contained 48 images edited down from 375 shot between 1969 and 1971 and displayed a deceptively casual, actually super-refined look at the surrounding world. Here are people, landscapes, and odd little moments in and around Eggleston's hometown of Memphis--an anonymous woman in a loudly patterned dress and cat's eye glasses sitting, left leg slightly raised, on an equally loud outdoor sofa; a coal-fired barbecue shooting up flames, framed by a shiny silver tricycle, the curves of a gleaming black car fender, and someone's torso; a tiny, gray-haired lady in a faded, flowered housecoat, standing expectant, and dwarfed in the huge dark doorway of a mint-green room whose only visible furniture is a shaded lamp on an end table. For this edition of "William Eggleston's Guide," The Museum of Modern Art has made new color separations from the original 35 mm slides, producing a facsimile edition in which the color will be freshly responsive tothe photographer's intentions.



About the Author
"William Eggleston was born in 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee. He took his first black-and-white photographs at age 18 and soon became serious about photography, though he never studied it formally. His first color work was shot in 1964 in color negative film, but in the late 60s he began to use color slides; it was some of those slides that he brought with him to New York in 1967, when he met Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, and John Szarkowski. It was Szarkowski who curated Eggleston's landmark 1976 solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York--a breakthrough in the perception of color photography as a serious form of fine art. The recipient of the 1998 Hasselblad Award, Eggleston's work was most recently seen in Documenta11 and in a major retrospective at the Fondation Cartier in Paris."

"William Eggleston was born in 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee. He took his first black-and-white photographs at age 18 and soon became serious about photography, though he never studied it formally. His first color work was shot in 1964 in color negative film, but in the late 60s he began to use color slides; it was some of those slides that he brought with him to New York in 1967, when he met Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, and John Szarkowski. It was Szarkowski who curated Eggleston's landmark 1976 solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York--a breakthrough in the perception of color photography as a serious form of fine art. The recipient of the 1998 Hasselblad Award, Eggleston's work was most recently seen in Documenta11 and in a major retrospective at the Fondation Cartier in Paris."

John Szarkowski is director emeritus of the Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. As director of the department from 1962 through 1991, he oversaw the presentation of more than 100 exhibitions. He also oversaw the publication of more than 30 books and catalogues, the inauguration of the Museum's first photography collection galleries in 1964 and their expansion in 1984 and the establishment of endowments to support the department's programs. Throughout his tenure, he supervised the development of the collection, which now includes more than 25,000 works spanning the history of photography. Szarkowski was born in Ashland, Wisconsin in 1925.
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