A while back I was looking at the photography section of the Foyles web site. When I came across a new copy of William Eggleston guide. I had to check to make sure that I was not wearing trick glasses. As far as I was concerned it could only be obtained second hand. So I did the right thing and purchased a copy and waited to see what came through the post.
It was reprinted in 2011 and first published in 1976 by the museum of modern art New York. It had been produced in conjunction with the début exhibition of William Eggleston. The critics slammed the exhibition as boring and banal, by doing this they had completely miss read Eggleston's pictures. Yes it was jejune and mundane, all in wonderful bright colour but that was the whole point. The common place in society was no longer the preserve of black and white. It was suddenly hip to make this type of picture using colour film.
The quirky nature of Eggleston's pictures is what appeals to me, the sense that there is more going on outside the frame makes me linger just that bit longer in case all is revealed! I know it is the 'picture of a moment in time' that appealed to Eggleston's eye; and his view of the world, the way he puts it across that intrigues me.
I like his attitude - see the picture, take it and move on. He is not one to exhaust the view from every angle and at three different settings types. He knows his own mind and is prepared to take a risk, if it does not work he has not then wasted a whole film. In this respect I'm with Eggleston.
The book is an unusual size being 9 ½ inches square (240 mm). A modern take I feel. I'm not sure that the first edition was this size. The cover has a simulated leather embossed feel to it with the picture inset. The pictures appear on one side of a double page spread. William Eggleston does not go in for giving his pictures titles but reveals the place where it was taken. Could a place name be a kind of title? The pictures do not always stand central on each page giving the book a rhythm of it's own.
I'm pleased this book is part of my collection after all these years.