A Memphis native, William Eggleston developed his distinct oeuvre from the immediate world around him, incorporating all shades of life into his vivid photographs, and pioneering an approach that derives its power from a refined form of spontaneous observation. A modern–day flâneur, he captures compelling fragments, events, and personalities of the ordinary world. Eggleston is largely credited with legitimizing color photography as a fine art form. More than a century after the advent of color film, and a decade after popular media fused with contemporary art, his first museum exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1976 was also the first time that color photography had been considered in this context. Thirty–eight years after this historic moment, Eggleston continues his innovations in photography. In recent years, advances in digital processes allow him to print images on a much larger scale, at times even surpassing the quality of color saturation associated with dye–transfer, the vibrant and exquisite printing process which is his hallmark.
William Eggleston was born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee. He studied at the University of Mississippi, Oxford; Delta State College, Mississippi, and Vanderbilt University, Tennessee. Recent solo exhibitions include “Cadillac Portfolio,” Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2003); “Spirit of Dunkerque,” Lieu d'Art et d'Action Contemporaine, France (2006); “Portfolios,” Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2007); “William Eggleston Color Portraits–1974,” Inverleith House, Scotland (2007); “L'oeil démocratique,” Centre de Photographie de Lectoure, France (2008); “Democratic Camera, Photographs and Videos 1961–2008,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008, traveled to Haus der Kunst, Munich; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, California); “Paris,” Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris (2009, traveled to Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; and Hasselblad Foundation, Sweden); “Paris–Kyoto,” Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2010); “21st Century,” SCAI The Bathhouse, Tokyo (2010); “Anointing the Overlooked,” Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Tennessee (2011); “Before Color,” Fotomuseum, The Netherlands (2012, traveled to Peder Lund, Norway); Tate Modern, London (2013); “Los Alamos,” Nevada Museum of Art, Reno (2013); “Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition,” Somerset House, London (2013); “At War with the Obvious: Photographs by William Eggleston,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2013); “From Black and White to Color,” Fondation Henri Cartier–Bresson (2014, traveled to Musée de l’Elysée, Switzerland, through 2015); “William Eggleston, a cor americana,” Instituto Moreira Salles, Brazil (2015); and “William Eggleston Potraits,” National Portrait Gallery, London (2016).
Eggleston currently lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.