Memphis born photographer William Eggleston made his mark in 1976 at the Museum Of Modern Art, New York. 75 seemingly mundane colour images , distilled down to 48, and an accompanying book, William Eggleston’s Guide, were savaged by critics at the time as being cheap and vulgar.
In 1976, photography was seemingly the last bastion of black and white imagery. Popular culture displayed its ‘vulgarity’ through the use of colour in TV, movies and magazines. The antithesis of Robert Frank’s insistence that “black and white are the colours of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected…”. Aperture (1961)
Yet some 35 years on, Eggleston’s view of things, so vehemently dismissed at the time, appears to be the prevailing ethic. “Put simply, it would be difficult to imagine the world according to David Lynch or Gus Van Sant or Juergen Teller or Sofia Coppola without the world according to William Eggleston”. (Sean O’Hagan)
The links between Eggleston’s work and popular culture which work best for me though, are images used on album covers like Alex Chilton’s “Like Flies On Sherbert”…Click here for the low down. (Rock and photography…now there’s a post for later …)