William Eggleston, known as ‘the father of colour photography’, was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1939, his father an engineer and his mother the daughter of a local judge, although his wider family had been cotton farmers. He bought his first camera at 18 – a Canon Rangefinder – and spent 8 years learning his art in monochrome before switching to colour in 1965.
Colour photography is where Eggleston made his mark, pioneering the depiction of everyday life and dye-transferring exhibition prints to achieve a level of colour saturation unmatched by traditional printing processes but typical of ad campaigns of the time. The resulting collision of the colourful and the ordinary inspired a generation of photographers and filmmakers alike, including Martin Parr and David Lynch.
In 1976, Eggleston made waves with his solo exhibition, ‘Guide to America’ at New York's Museum of Modern Art. 41 years ago, his work was deemed inconsequential with the New York Times reviewing his work as "Perfectly banal, perhaps. Perfectly boring, certainly.”
Famously dismissive of answering any questions about his work, Eggleston shuns the scrutiny of art critics and doesn’t see the need to explain his subject matter. As reported in the Independent’s feature: Genius in colour: Why William Eggleson is the world’s greatest photographer, “People often talk such nonsense anyway. You can't follow up photography with words. It doesn't make any sense.”
We’ve picked out a few of our favourite Eggleston photos for you, you can find out more at http://www.egglestontrust.com/.