In 2013, Michael Grover writing in the Independent called William Eggleston (born 1939) the world’s greatest photographer as Tate Modern opened a new exhibition of his work. Whether that is true or not, he inspired a generation who was making the transition from black and white to colour photography, to use colour, form and shape simply and artistically in the photographs. I have to admit that, generally, I am not a fan of colour photography, preferring black and white as it allows the photographer to focus on shape, colour, texture and granularity which can be lost in colour photography. Eggleston is the exception that manages to successfully bridge the two.
His exhibition in 1976 in MOMA in New York was not without controversy by established art critics; the following year he set off to travel in California and the American South using a 2 and a 1/4 inch medium format camera, which gives its name to the exhibition of a number of these photographs on show at the David Zwirner Gallery in Mayfair, reflecting on another era with rusting Cadillacs, decaying warehouses, knitted tank tops and hairstyles of the time. His pictures are carefully composed and colours are carefully interconnected so that a mustard Cadillac sits in front of a warehouse of the same colour and a red electrical charger is connected into the engine of a red car.
These photographs may only be 40 years old but they represent another era, with a stillness and timeless beauty to them.