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Thursday, 25 October 2012


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To be first, you have to be first.

Eggleston took the original with a flash which helps the saturation and the brightness of the white (that and dye transfer). No fluorescent Karma Sutra either.

For your next trick "Boy carrying large bottle of Cola", perhaps?

First thing I thought of, when I saw the post. The second thing was my version, shot at the Haymarket Co-op in Hyde Park (Chicago )....

Went way over my head.

T'was my first thought...sans the weirdo sex act poster of course.

Most important photograph? Most important album cover. (Big Star - Radio City)

Readers in the UK can see the Eggleston for themselves at the excellent Everything Was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s exhibition at the Barbican Gallery, London. Well worth a visit - I went the same day you published the x100 ceiling shot and it brought a smile to my face.

Hmmm...now I'm feelin' all edgeucated...

I just thought "why on earth would anyone have taken that photo, let alone put it on public display..."

OK, that went waaaay over my head.

Now van Gogh's green cafe, that one I recognized.

My take on the subject:
With a nod in the direction of Twin Peaks.
(The basic Fujifilm point and shoot I had with me on that trip to the US years ago is no match for the X100 I have now, obviously).

It wasn't why I picked that particular photo, but when I linked to one of my photos in the comments to the Sigma/bokehking article, I was definitely thinking it was a fitting sample, considering your sort of red ceiling photo posted earlier, Mike.

Also, do I get a prize for posting the longest run-on sentence of the day?

I did pick that and I'm carrying around a copy of Alec Soth's Broken Manual at the moment which also sorta quotes that image...

PS, I think it's a good idea for any colour photographer to spend a little time looking at Eggleston's dye transfers. No matter what you think of his subject or composition, the impact of the colour is often visceral.

The red ceiling... Brings back memories of my days as a roadie for a team of travelling strippers...

Nothing pleasant, depressing mostly.

the excellent book by geoff dyer The Ongoing Moment comes to mind here...

Mike - Just as aside...although I've never used a view camera--and probably never will--thanks for including discussions about them. I DO find them interesting...

I feel that in this digital age the challenge has become to make a color print that matches the brilliance of our backlit computer displays that we are so used to looking at.

Rose Gallery in the Bergamot Station complex in Santa Monica has a current show of NEW dye transfer prints made by Guy Stricherz from vintage transparencies. One photo is very much like the famous red ceiling shot, only blue,VERY blue. When I was there just over two weeks ago, they'd sold five of the various photos on display, image size about 12 X 18", at $55,000 EACH!

Since the Eggleston exhibition in London a few years ago I've tried to be more sympathetic to his work and failed. This wasn't helped by some TV footage I saw of him in person a while back. But I posted about this before.

To me the red ceiling is hideous (and empty) whether the artistic elite admire it or not. I wonder what the consensus view will be in 2112!

I take photos like the Eggleston one sometimes. Not as art, but for work... "Okay class, how many contraventions of the Wiring Regulations do we have here?"

The posters would of course be cropped out.

I really just don't appreciate what Eggleston is doing, even having seen some originals. He's the kind of artist that gives modern art a bad name.

It's already a period piece, like Paul Strand's picket fence. Its significance is really only discernible in terms of its context.

Color at the time was the province of amateurs who would bore their friends to death with interminable slide shows; advertising; a few "arty" photojournalists like Ernst Haas; and a few artistic nature photographers, with Eliot Porter in their vanguard. It was something that art photographers like Weston and Caponigro dabbled in before returning to "real" photography. It had a spotty and suspect history. And definite also-ran status.

Then look at the influence of the Modern (I mean MoMA) at the time, and the context of what Szarkowski was trying to do there with photography, and consider Eggleston in the context of Szarkowski's other favorites and the other artists he presented. Is it really any more surprising that he championed Eggleston than that he exalted ironic and wry street photographers over more traditional arty photographers, found photography over perfectionists, and Diane Arbus over, say, Margaret Bourke-White?

Saying you like or dislike one photograph is to miss the point...it's a bit like saying Picasso can't draw or Pollock isn't a real painter because he doesn't paint landscapes like his teacher.

A good book for you: "American Photography" by Jonathan Green.


"He's the kind of artist that gives modern art a bad name."

Tell you what. Go make three photographs that look like Egglestons. Just as an exercise. Study his work, see if you can "get" its underlying gestalt, its look, then see if you can mimic it.


It may originally have been meant to be a shot of the "adult" cartoons on the wall with a light fitting and red ceiling thrown in as a (very) red herring.....

I spent quite a long time looking quite hard at Eggleston prints in the Hayward Gallery on London's South Bank a few years back. I really didn't like any of them and felt the photographer was being snobbish about his subject matter. I don't recall seeing the red ceiling picture ever before so either it wasn't part of that show or I gave up before reaching it; I did find the exhibition quite a depressing experience.

Mentioning Picasso in the same post seems bizarre to me and nobody who has taken the trouble to look at examples of Picasso's work from earliest days on throughout his career would ever question his draughtsmanship.

I didn't post yesterday as I was away all day, including two magic hours at the Henry Moore Foundation out in the country just north of London. I thought, once or twice as I wandered between the bronzes, of that red ceiling and quickly dismissed those thoughts. Strand and his fence or Weston and his models never ctossed my mind.

Photographers certainly have worthwhile things to say about our world and the people in it but, in a hundred years time, I suspect some of those despised 1950s holiday snaps will be objects of fascination to historians and sociologists. Whether the aesthetes of future days will have much time for the art photo photography of the late 20thC is another matter.

If the photograph is all about the colour of the ceiling then surely the real artist is the person who mixed the paint. :-)

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