William Eggleston – “Chromes”

William Eggleston stands, with Stephen Shore, as one of the first photographer who found a way to museums with color photographs. This month, Steidl celebrate the master by presenting unseen color pictures with a 3 volumes new book tracing every steps in Eggleston’s carrier.

William Eggleston - Untitled
William Eggleston – Untitled

In the mid-seventies, to organise the very first exhibition of color photographs from Eggleston at the Museum Of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the curator J. Szarkowski made a selection of 48 pictures in the artist’s archive. The selected photographs became famous (not to say legendary) with their publication in the catalogue titled “William Eggleston’s Guide”. But few people knew that they were part of a big archive which remained, untill today, unpublished.

Unlike the colour negative film-pictures which were for example published in the book Los Alamos (in 2003), those 5,000 transparencies remaind indeed unseen and stocked in a safe. From 1969 to 1974, Eggleston had worked with transparency stock, like Kodachrome, Ektachrome or Agfachrome and, after the exhibition at the MoMA, he let the rest of his archive remaind at the Eggleston Artistic Trust in Memphis, Tennessee. Chromes presents 364 of those “never-seen” photographs, from the early Memphis imagery, colour tests and compositional strategies, and the development towards the ‘poetic snapshot’. From Agfa to Koda, all this chromes put together unable to trace the gradual steps by which the photographer transformed from an unknown into a leading artist.

“Chromes” by Steidl, 3 volumes, 728 pages, 364 colour plates, €248.00

More about J. Szarkowski and William Eggleston on Wayne Ford’s blog

Credits: William Eggleston / Steidl – All rights reserved.

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