Tuesday, March 26, 2013


DEAR MR. EGGLESTON by Greg Bottoms

"I bet you take photographs—of a light bulb in a red ceiling, a dinner table just before people sit down to eat, an old man sitting on a bed . . . . To say This is, this right here is absolutely real in space and time, irreducible and ineluctable, and I witnessed it and I captured it; I lived deeply inside of this particular now.

And when I hold your photograph, as I am doing now, I’m looking at our car in the Sears parking lot in 1976, and time has collapsed, there is no now and then, only this transitive, shifting place of memory, and life and representation and what it can mean get mixed up, and everything is a little more real than real, and you’re helping me to hold my dead father’s hand, and I’m holding it tightly, holding it now, and he’s just let one rip, and it still hangs in the air in sound and smell, and our moment of heightened awareness crumbles into laughing, laughing until tears come, and this laughing, because of a fart, is the purest expression of our love I know, captured, transformed, transferred through time, sparked into a memory, and re-imagined into new life. I was there. You made a photograph. And I was there again. What magic is worth believing in if not that, Mr. Eggleston?"

[Cover of William Eggleston's book 2 1/2. "Born and raised in Mississippi and Tennessee, William Eggleston began taking pictures during the 1960s after seeing Henri Cartier-Bresson's The Decisive Moment. In 1966 he changed from black and white to color film, perhaps to make the medium more his own and less that of his esteemed predecessors. John Sarkowski, when he was curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, called Eggleston the "first color photographer," and certainly the world in which we consider a color photograph as art has changed because of Eggleston."]

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