William Eggleston

William Eggleston born July 27, 1939 is an American photographer. He is
widely credited with increasing recognition for color photography as a
legitimate artistic medium to display in art galleries. Eggleston captures
ordinary everyday urban American life (portraits, indoor and outdoor scenes,
still lifes and details) from unexpected perspectives. His control of form, and
the way in which he frames his subjects, invests his photography with a certain
narrative potential and theatricality. Eggleston first experimented with colour
photography in 1965 and moved to New York in 1967. In the late 1960s, his
primary medium was colour transparency film, and he is credited with having
made a huge contribution towards its validation as an accepted art form. In the
1970’s, he discovered dye-transfer printing and started using it extensively,
partly because of the brilliant colour saturation it affords.

Process: This image by Eggleston is a digital photograph which has been
presented in colour, the colours in the image although saturated remain
realistic. This image is part of a larger series where Eggleston explores the
landscapes of America.

Content: This landscape is of what appears to be a deserted road with a
sign showing the way to a café, the sign is old and rusted with weeds growing
all around it which may be an indication that the café is no longer there
whereas the road appears to be new, the grass on the side of the road has
been freshly cut which could signify that the area is being regenerated to
attract tourists. The photographer may be telling a story of a place that has
changed, the café may have been an important gathering spot for the locals
which has now been closed down to make way for the new road and new
Form: The photograph appears to have been shot during the hours of the
early evening a clam and possibly peaceful atmosphere which lends to the
story. Eggleston has successfully used the rule of thirds to emphasises both
the sign on the left as the main subject while still inviting the viewer to see
the road on the right as an important element of the image. The road on the
right uses the diagonal rule to lead the viewer on a journey into the image
and possibly down the road to what could be the new landscape waiting on
the horizon to be his next subject.
Mood: Although the photograph is aesthetically pleasing I believe that a
emotional response can be evoked if the viewer has a personal relationship
with the location. I do however appreciate the beauty of the landscape and
can see how an atmosphere of calmness can be felt by the viewer. On the
other hand the eerie stillness of the image can also be unsettling.
Personal development: I have chosen to analyse this image because it
caught my eye and I found it the most interesting of the series, this image
and the other works of Eggleston link to my own project because I am
exploring the English landscape in a similar way, I plan to take photographs
using the same techniques in my own area to tell the story of where I live/
where I have grown up.