As like most of my current favorite photographers Eggleston was introduced to me during a critical studies lecture last year. Unlike Bourdin I wasn’t immediately besotted by his work, however I was more than curious.

It is only when you see a group of Egglestons images that you begin to appreciate them, you find yourself with endless questions for almost every image. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time looking at his tricycle image trying (and failing) to deconstruct it and find an understanding or a discourse.

???

???

We can make out some basic details the house looks distinctly urban 1970’s America as does the cars we get a tiny glimpse of and the trike itself but other than that, it really isn’t offering much information to the viewer. Similarly to Norfolk’s stairs image we are busting a gut to find the studium. However unlike Norfolk’s work there is no hook line or explanatory details to helps us on the path of discovery. We are left scratching our heads contemplating our creative worth.

Eggleston is an anomaly he was once described by Martin Parr as the Granddaddy of documentary photography and anyone Parr looks up to must being doing something right in my book. The link between Parr and Eggleston does not stop at Parr’s admiration of him. Eggleston paved the way for Parr and many other documentary photographers by changing one simple element of photography, shooting colour. All the great documentary photographers of times gone by shot in B&W it was the done thing. Colour was for amatures. So much so that Henri Cartier-Bresson threatened to resign as chairman of Magnum when Parr was on the cusp of joining. Eggleston bucked that trend and opened an entirely new untouched area of photography.

Colour

Colour

Imagine this image in B&W, it just wouldn’t hold a gram of interest in comparison to the colour version. As eye follows the image around we slowly find this brightly coloured poster on the bottom left, if the red walls and read roof wasn’t already screaming brothel at you, the poster will give you that visual slap in the face you required.

Sure we could sit and analyze Eggleston’s work until every last detail was scrutinised but I don’t think that is the point. I don’t get it, I don’t fully understand every image, but I don’t care. I love it. Eggleston is one of the few photographers who’s exhibition I would find relaxing. The reason being I would leave my analytical hat at the door and sit back and enjoy his genius.

Anyway you can view his website here. I would.