To make matters worse, some of the pictures are likely to be marginally interesting. When the film is developed every frame will define a subject different from any defined before. He considered Eggleston’s photographs to be ‘perfectly banal The clues that have been of use to today’s color photographers are labyrinthine and nearly untraceable, but have surely included modern painting, color movies and television, drugstore postcards, and the heterogeneous flood of imagery that has come from the modern magazine. Among others, artists such as Sherrie Levine and Jack Goldstein, who were included in the influential Pictures exhibition of , questioned the role of the author by reusing existing imagery.

Besides reshowings and reappraisals of such classic exponents of photography such as Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Walker Evans, he also exhibited photographers who had hitherto been known only to experts and connoisseurs. Whatever else a photograph may be about, it is inevitably about photography, the container and the vehicle of all its meanings. To me it seems that the pictures reproduced here are about the photographer’s home, about his place, in both important meanings of that word. The conspicuous successes of color photography are not many, and most of these have depended on a high degree of prior control over the material photographed. The difference between the two is a matter of intelligence, imagination, intensity, precision, and coherence.

In her artist statement Litvak writes about the world as a stage that hosts performances for her camera.

William Eggleston Guide essay – John Szarkowski

Szarkowski — was an author, curator and photographer and regarded as key voice on art photography during the latter half of the 20th Century.

Barr’s comment however is valuable, and suggests in concrete terms a quality central to Eggleston’s work: Litvak and her camera serve as a medium through which the real can pass and be transformed. In historical terms it was perhaps not until the time of Alfred Stieglitz and Eugene Atget that photographers of exceptional talent learned to use the entire plate with consistent boldness.

Eggleston’s exhibition was the first presentation of a color photographer’s work at this institution after an interval of more than ten years. InArt in America published an interview with Walker Evans. In the only self-portrait of William Eggleston known to me, the photographer–only partially visible–is looking at an old fan, its shiny brass propeller corresponding with the warm yellow of a plastic bottle before him.

Today, in the wake of Postmodernism, photographers who select from the world confront the same kinds of biases their predecessors did in the face of painting.


john szarkowski essay william eggleston

He considered Eggleston’s photographs to be ‘perfectly banal The emphasis was on szadkowski and the introduction of colour szarkowwski a complication too far, based on decades of learning the language of black and white imagery. Even more than in the traditional arts, the two are inextricably tangled.

The new graphic economy that characterizes the best photography of the early years of the century could be described in terms of the conventional concept of Composition, but it is perhaps more useful to think of it as the result of a new system of indication, based on the expressive possibilities of the detail. Whatever was not, did not.

While so much new photography seems to engage abstractly, ironically, at a distance, the photographers in this exhibition find meaning in direct, personal experience. 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.

Introduction to William Eggleston’s Guide by John Szarkowski At this writing I have not yet visited Memphis, or northern Mississippi, and thus have no basis for judging how closely the photographs in this book might seem to resemble that part of the world and the life that is lived there. It is as though we were looking at a psychogram of American everyday life, and of American middle-class society in particular.

Both swaths of intense color question whether egglezton are looking at a surface or into a depth. In this respect, his photographs bear a resemblance to the snapshots which William Eggleston had seen on his many nocturnal visits to the photofinishing laboratory, for the authors of these snapshots invariably placed the object of their interest in the middle of the picture.

One can say, to repeat, that in Eggleston’s pictures form and content are indistinguishable, which seems to me true but also unsatisfactory because egvleston permissive. One can say then that in these photographs form and content are indistinguishable – which is to say that the pictures mean precisely what they appear to mean. Alongside such disturbing, yet subtly ironic, media-oriented conjuring tricks, Eggleston’s integration of dated, everyday objects in szarokwski other photographs egggleston fail to capture our attention.


I photograph to find out what something will look like when photographed. Besides reshowings and reappraisals of such classic exponents of photography such as Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Walker Evans, he also exhibited photographers who had hitherto been known only to experts and connoisseurs. For Eggleston, who was perhaps never fully committed to photography in black johnn white, the lesson would be more easily and naturally learned, enabling him to make these pictures: I did not believe him, although I can believe that it might be an advantage to him to think so, or to pretend to think so.

john szarkowski essay william eggleston

Up close, the brightly colored plastic clips contrast with one made of faded wood and allude to a low-level tension between the old and new that runs through her work. The only publication which is more specifically place-related is Graceland.

WILLIAM EGGLESTON – The Hasselblad Award – Essay by Thomas Weski

Its failures might be divided into two categories. Patterson also deals with questions of transparency in unlikely places. The invention of photography provided a radically new picture-making process—a process based not on synthesis but on selection. And it is precisely this lack of nostalgia, the cold and aloof way the artist treats his subject matter, that shocks us.

Eggleston concentrates on the banalities of everyday culture and gives them a meaning, no matter how trivial they might be.

But even this perfectly off-balanced photograph leaves us with a feeling of unease and insecurity, for the yellow bottle contains highly flammable lighter fuel, and one cannot help feeling that Eggleston has set up the whole scene for an experiment fraught with consequences. It is true that much of the best photography of this century has been created from materials that one would, from an objective, historical perspective, call trivial, for example, the wheel and fender of a Model T Ford, or the face of an anonymous sharecropper, or the passersby on an urban sidewalk; but these materials, even if slight in terms of their intrinsic, specific importance, are nevertheless public and potentially exemplary, and thus available as the carrier of symbolic freight.