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Friday, 17 February 2012


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Hello Mike,
That print is sized at 44 x 60in. (112 x 152cm.) Could it be...?

Of course they are - inkjet - that is!

Mike - how could you like it? It's UNTITLED :)

Well, I'm not bidding ... it's so posed ... unreal , sorry, just not right!

Where the heck is her glass of sherry??????


Wasn't Eggleston using a 35mm camera in the early 70's? Seems like a crazy enlargement if that's the case...

The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City has an original print of the tricycle photograph and it's not much bigger than maybe 12 x 18, if memory serves me.

Could be a carbon print. That might almost justify the price. But I'd think they'd call it that, if that was what it was.

I believe Eggleston has exhibited inket prints, sometimes along with his classic dye transfers. I've also read that his inkjets may involve a special coating. The 36 for sale at this auction are limited to 2 per photo, and the 44x60 size is unique for his work. ('Tricycle' is estimated at $250,000 to $350,000.)

That picture is fantastic.

"The 36 for sale at this auction are limited to 2 per photo, and the 44x60 size is unique for his work. ('Tricycle' is estimated at $250,000 to $350,000.)"

Let's see...I'll take about, oh, $60,000 or $70,000 worth. [g]

(That is, one maybe 10-15" wide.)


I had never heard of UltraStable, but it sure sounds like plain old carbo.


Is Charles Berger the guy who was using automotive paint pigments in gelatin and dichromate back in the 70s?

I was messing around with the gelatin and dichromate sheets made for silkscreen printing and Kodak photoresist made for etching plates and printed circuit boards when I was a teenager. I could never figure out how to make anything other than blue or green that was still light sensitive.

Ok forget the inkjet thing for a moment. Now I know the guy is famous and all but will someone please explain the significance of this photo that demands a 6 figure asking price? Someone's aunt Mary on the patio with a cig? I wouldn't pay a dime over 10 grand for it. LOL

Eh, I would think Mr. Eggleston should listen to mr. Ctein regarding maximum print size of a 35mm negative. I'm affraid they will turn out to be rather grainy since if memory serves mr. Eggleston used 35mm Leica and Canon equipment....and if you look at them closely you will spot the grain in the blowup's on Christies page....not something I would buy over the internet i'm sorry to say. Of course you can scan 35 mm at 6900 ppi but the max res is about 3800 ppi....so your left with a file which holds about 5700 pixels....which makes for avout 28.5 inch at the limit of 200 ppi (information content and since he's using quality equipment and primes he can get that easily depending on the film used (Kodachrome 25 can/could for instance). But upping the ante with a factor 2....I would not try that if I was mr. Eggleston. And besides these pictures don't need the size anyway. They work at 20 inch just as well, hell I saw mr. Shores 8x10 shots at that size in Düsseldorf and they perfectly held their own even when confronted with Gursky's Niagara at full blast which was hanging in the same room.

Greetings, Ed

Aha, Mr. Eggleston was using 6x9 as well (okay, okay I stand corrected) and the power of 6x9 well yes I know (GSW690iii owner moi sees now the Mr. Eggleston also owns a GW690 along with some Mamiya 6x9 equipment).And 6x9 well, scanned can go a long way generating about 12000 pixels (at 3500 ppi resolution). and yes that conforms quite nicely with 60 inch...

Greetings, Ed


Care to offer a few words on what you like about this? Not trying to put you on the spot; I'm genuinely curious, as I've never quite "gotten" Eggleston.

Sure, I can see a few things here-- an aging woman comfortably ensconced in similarly aged surroundings that are a bit worse for wear, the floral-on-floral juxtposition of the dress and the cushion, the woman's attitude, posture, and careless ease with her cigarette -- but overall, I can't get myself to care very much about this (or about most of Eggleston's work).

I'd like to read your thoughts.

When I get to feeling my photography is mediocre and nothing but amateur snap shooting, I look at a few Eggleston photos...

I went to a local photography group exhibition opening on Thursday and noticed that the labels on one set of prints stated "Archival Pigment on 100% Archival Cotton Rag".
Not having seen that reference to pigment before I asked the photographer exactly what she meant and was told that as the pigment inks used in her Epson have been tested to last over 100 years they can be described as "archival". She didn't seem to be aware that the figures she quoted are projections based on fairly recent tests - ink jet printing has a few more years to go before the jury decides.

Well, if it was its original size (40cm at the most), it would be 1/10 of the price. So its moneymaking size.
I don’t think that dye transfer prints go that size, but I am not sure.
It is an edition of 2, though.

I wish that the old man makes some money finally.

Whats wrong with inkjet?
It is pure pigment on pure cotton. (if the paper is right)
If wel made, prints on a Hahnemuehle PhotoRag Baryta are gorgeous.
And it lasts more than most color processes till now.

I saw an Eggleston show at Victoria Miro in London a couple of years ago, and the prints were described as "Epson inkjet". This remains the only time I have seen such an honest description of how such prints were made in an "ART" environment. Clearly his standing is such that he felt no need to hide behind "pigment print" or similar.

[re the carbon prints - There is someone in the UK who was experimenting with creating huge colour carbon prints for a big art-world photographer, but I don't know if he ever managed it. I am pretty sure Tod Gangler won't go that large.]

I'v been in this business 50 years and never heard of the process Berger is using and after watching him make just the cyan blanket, I now know why. It takes a life time to make a print. The big question, why does the photograph command that much money.

It's a nice photo, but I can't help but feel I'll really be paying $149,750 for William Eggleston's autograph.


I hope this isn't too controversial, or even philistine if one is still allowed to use that word, but here goes. A few years ago I went to the big Eggleston exhibition in the Hayward Gallery in London (that's http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/hayward-gallery-visual-arts for the gallery, not the exhibition). I must admit that at that point Eggleston was but a name to me.

As I walked round the collection of large garish colour prints I felt more and more uncomfortable. It struck me that most of the subject matter was aspirational blue collar/lower middle class taste and the impression I got was that the photographer was sneering at it.

Since then I've seen Eggleston being interviewed on television and didn't really find any reason to like him any better even though by then I knew enough about him to realise he was, or rather is, a great name.

Now, I'd be more than happy to be helped to change my assessment. I'd be the first to admit that it is superficial since I'm a photographic hobbyist rather than someone who earns a crust from picture making or as a history of art specialist. If what I interpreted as snobbish mockery of harmless people wasn't that at all, explain!

What about an article? And preferably an article about content rather than print quality. And why on earth do you like that horrible colour snap at the top of the page.

Doesn't 'pigment' just mean his preferred dye transfer printing medium?

"Now, I'd be more than happy to be helped to change my assessment."

I don't see how your assessment needs changing...or why I ought to be the one to undertake the task. I admit I've never heard the interpretation of his work that you give, but then again I don't see anything wrong with it. He's just one out of thousands and thousands of photographers, and you can (perhaps even "ought to") feel about him how you actually do.

And good on you for having the spine to form your own opinion about work in a museum.

...Although how you can can call the featured picture "horrible" is a complete mystery to me. I've always thought it was one of WE's most accessible and prettiest. Perhaps, rather than me explaining Eggleston to you, you could explain that to me....


I don't think anyone's ever made a 44x60-inch dye transfer. Although perhaps Ctein could chime in on that. Especially today, when most of the materials are long out of production.


"Mike - how could you like it? It's UNTITLED :) "

Not for me it's not. With all that I know about Eggleston and all the times I've seen that picture....


There really is no justifying William Eggleston's work. Until becoming quite familiar with him and his work several years ago I too was a bit cynical about it. To those who "hate" it I suggest you simply reserve such harsh judgement until you have seen some of the work in-person, particularly his dye transfers. Looking at the stuff on the Internet is a poor proxy. (I would similarly suggest reserving judgement about any art until you've seen it in-person.) The fellow is a real character in-person, even at his advanced age, and that knowledge certainly must influence my own affinity for his work.

Regarding price, these ranges are not out of line with other recent auctions and private sales. Justifying art prices is another impossible challenge. But I will say that if you're looking for a sure investment any of these would be a much better bet than any equity you could choose over the next 10 years. I suspect that most will sell at the top of their ranges at this auction but many will probably double in valuation when Eggleston passes.

Dear Mike et al.,

Okay, here goes ...

Dye transfer prints are neither inkjet nor pigmented prints, and they would never be listed that way. They are something else entirely, vis : http://ctein.com/dyetrans.htm

I don't know whether Eggleston's pigmented prints are inkjet or Ultrastable. Ultrastable is NOT “carbon” or “carbro," although it is a cousin of those processes, in that it is an assembly process that uses pigmented tissues to apply color to a final substrate.

Kodak dye transfer matrix film was made in rolls as large as 40 inches, so a print with an image area of just under 40 inches wide would be possible. If the 44 inch is the paper width rather than the image width, then it is possible, although extremely unlikely, that it is a dye transfer print. (Today, the largest dye transfers I know of are being made by Jim Browning, who I believe is willing to go up to 30" x 40".)

The price also makes it unlikely to be a large dye transfer; such a print would have cost Eggleston somewhere in 5 figures (in current dollars) to have made. Definitely more than $10,000 (current), $20,000 would be plausible (might be more). Normal rule of thumb in the art/craft business, developed from years spent by many people attending the School of Hard Knocks, is that if your material costs start to exceed 10-20% of your selling price, you're going to be in trouble. So, if this were a mislabeled dye transfer print, it would be something of a bargain. Extremely rare in every respect and very costly to make.

And, since I'm sticking in my $.02 worth ... on the subject of archivality ...

A couple of people have expressed skepticism because the permanance claims are based on extrapolations from existing tests. in that case, you must be skeptical of ALL modern prints, color or black-and-white. Nobody is printing with materials that have been in existence, in their modern formulations, for 100 years. You cannot look at black and white prints from 1900 to guess how long a black-and-white print made today will last. Not without guesswork and extrapolation.

The closest you can come with any modern process is, in fact, dye transfer, where the print materials been essentially unchanged since the late 1940s. That still falls far short of the century mark.

Just saying, folks are entitled to be skeptical of any permanence numbers, because on occasion they have proven wrong, but basing that skepticism on the fact that such claims are made on the basis of accelerated tests is cause to be equally skeptical of any and all media. And although it would seem intuitive that you can have more faith in a material that's been around for 30 years than a half-dozen to last for more than a century, that's not particularly scientifically supportable.

Pay yer money, take yer chance. That's all you can do.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

The dye in 'dye transfer' is such a giveaway.

I used to buy UltraStable in rolls and cut them up. Can't remember the width (maybe 24" or wider) but I don't think these were the widest available. You can see pictures of the manufacturing on page 51 of Henry Wilhelm's The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs, now a free download from the WIR site. If the Eggleston is a new edition, it's unlikely to be UltraStable as I don't think the materials are available any more. Hence you see Tod coating his own in the linked videos. If you do so and have your own imagesetter (probably pick one up cheap now) the material cost per print would actually be quite reasonable. Not a process for churning out prints though.

1) perhaps "untitled," but this photo is captioned "Jackson, Mississippi" in William Eggleston's Guide.
2) I saw a dye transfer print of one of the photos from the Guide - page 54, "Near Minter City and Glendora, Mississippi" - and I was shocked to see that one of the upper corners was faded to magenta. I only know that photo from the book, and I like it, but that print was horrible. How could a dye transfer print have gone so wrong? Any chance I was actually seeing some early experiment in inkjet that had failed?

The technical stuff discussed here just leaves me with the proverbial thousand yard stare. If I were a collector or curator I might need to know this before buying one of these prints. But the fact is, I can't afford to pay attention these days. Further, I doubt anyone here will be lined up to purchase any of these prints. Given the size, I doubt many of us have the storage or display space to do them justice anyway.

I always get a little defensive of Eggleston's work. Admittedly, it's not textbook photography. Maybe that's why I like it. It took me many years to "get it". Once I got into it, I felt comfortable with it and began to really like it. Not all of it, but most of it. And I really can't explain why it is so appealing to me other than his aesthetic feels heavily based in the American South and that is my heritage and history as well. In my judgement, his best work is from locations near his roots in the South although he comes up with the occasional gem from other locations on the globe. Every time I see an Eggleston photograph, it's like reading Faulkner, O'Conner, Welty or early Cormac McCarthy.

For what it's worth I've seen a couple Eggleston documentaries that show him using those awkward Mamiya Press cameras with either a 6X7 or a 6X9 back on them. They were more modern documentaries though not near the vintage of this photo.

I've seen some of Eggleston's dyes in person, and they really pretty much disimpressed me. This image is one of the Eggleston's I like best; the color is more real than many (one thing I hated in his dyes was using them to get a color palette that to me means "bad color processing").

"Art" prices are absurd, and also highly random, faddish, driven by strange and often bizarre people and attitudes. And if Eggleston can command these sorts of prices while still alive, more power to him. I'm not a huge fan of his work, but he does what he does, and if other people like it and want to pay the prices they should certainly buy it! (I try really hard not to get angry at artists for happening to do well in the collector market.)

Per the recent captions discussion, I recently spent a number of hours perusing Eggleston's book For Now. (TOP Book o' the Week: A Real Honey) I'm a big fan of his work to start with, but really loved this book. The photos are presented with no text on the page other than a plate number at the bottom. At the end, there is a list of all the numbers with simple who/when/where captions. The plate list is called out as simply being a supplemental resource -- the photos are untitled.

Many of the pictures in the book are of people, and a few people appear in more than one photo. I enjoyed puzzling out the possible relationships and the time and place of the photos. After seeing each photo, I read the plate list and paged back to see most of them in a new way.

The photographs in For Now are among Eggleston's best work, if not best known.


There is an image of William Eggleston himself on that couch. I was suprised to see it at the end of the William Eggleston in the Real World documentary.

I put a screen grab of it and some commentary on my blog.


As far as I can tell this image is not otherwise on the Internet(!) which I find very odd. Isn't everything on the 'net?

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