food in the arts  


  EGGLESTON William/ Art Main/ Food in Photography/MAIN
  Born Memphis, Tennessee – 1939
  Hailed as the father of colour photography, his ability to find beauty in the banal has changed the way we look at the world. Along with Gary Winogrand and Lee Friedlander, Eggleston forms part of a generation of post-war photographers whose works liberated the medium from the restrictive rules and conventions of the period. A Southerner raised on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, Eggleston has created a singular portrait of his native South. His colour prints monumentalise the everyday: the parking lots, diners, motel rooms and lives of the people of his native environment. Behind Eggleston’s deceptive casualness lies an acute and instinctive sense of colour and form, and under his gaze the ordinary is invested with powerful significance.

Through abstraction, Eggleston links his photographic work to his work in other mediums.  In fact, his concern for a contained pictorial statement, as opposed to a documentary reflection of the world, more closely aligns him to a painter’s artistic practice.  His continued artistic exploration – in drawing and photography – informs an oeuvre rich with emotional sensitivity.

Eggleston’s ground-breaking use of colour was both controversial and celebrated at a time when black-and-white was standard for “art” photography.  In the mid-1960’s, colour photography was mostly used for commercial advertisements and journalism, but had also become accessible to the average consumer, allowing people to take colour snap shots of friends and family.  Eggleston was deeply inspired by the unplanned compositions of “ordinary” pictures, and saw in them an ability to access an intimacy and narrative voice unguarded by the carefully planned exposures of art photography’s prevailing canon.  His images, some 40 years later, continue to offer an intimate and personal sensibility of the world he documents.  

Biographical details:
In 1976, Eggleston received the first solo exhibition of color photographs at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1998, he was awarded the Hasslblad Foundation International Award in Photography.  His works have been exhibited extensively at institutions such as Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2007), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2005), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen (2004), Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2002) and Hayward Gallery, London (2002). An exhibition at the Fondation Cartier in Paris from April – June 2009 presented several of his drawings alongside the photographs that inspired them. In June 2009
The Colourful Mr Eggleston a film by Alan Yentob, was screened on BBC1 as part of the Imagine series.