fairly serious amateur photographer
I went to the National Gallery of Art during lunch on Thursday to watch William Eggleston in the Real World. I was unfamiliar with William Eggleston before the documentary but I usually enjoy watching the films offered at the NGA.
Lately I have been learning a lot about various artists’ processes. I started reading a couple of different books: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp and Daybook : The Journal of an Artist by Anne Truitt. I also saw a couple of movies/documentaries that also deal with the topic of the life of an artist: Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown with Sean Penn and I Am Trying to Break Your Heart – a documentary about Jeff Tweedy and Wilco.
I knew nothing about Eggleston before seeing this movie. But I was fascinated watching him putter around and take constantly take pictues. Often we see art and never see the process behind it. Later in the film, someone describes his father (or grandfather, I can’t remember which) as a fairly serious amateur photographer. I thought that is a great way to describe myself. I love taking pictures and always have my digital camera with me. How else would you get a great shot like this? (Followed by this.)
I loved having insight into Eggleston’s process. A self-taught artist, Eggleston has taken over 500,000 photos and he never takes more than one picture per shot. This is a practice that I am going to attempt in 2006. I love his use of color. The documentary described critics accusing Eggleston’s exhibits as being incredibly boring and mundane. But as the narrator said, by studying his work, you do look at your surroundings a little differently. The color and composition are incredible, despite any sense of mundaneness found in the subject, which is typical from his Southern surroundings. Maybe it is because I am a Southerner, but I saw a lot of shots that I would really love to study. I am first and foremost attracted to color and shapes and it seems as if Eggleston has mastered these elements.
Learn more about Eggleston.