William Eggleston's Guide

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    Ian McNab

    In 1976, John Szarkowski, the immensely influential director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, staged an exhibition of the colour photographs of a then-unknown photographer called William Eggleston.

    The show was called ‘William Eggleston’s Guide’. According to Sean O’Hagan, writing about Szarkowski in The Guardian, Szarkowski’s introduction to the book of the exhibition remains one of the great pieces of writing on modern photography.

    You can read Szarkowski’s ‘Introduction’ in full on the web site of the Eggleston Trust. It’s interesting not just for its discussion of colour photography, but also for what it says about the relationship between form (composition) and content in photographs and a number of other important matters about what distinguishes photographs from paintings.

    Here, by way of illustration, are some of Eggleston’s pictures:







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