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Memphis
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© Eggleston Artistic Trust

William Eggleston
American, Memphis, Tennessee, 1967
Gelatin silver print
6 3/8 x 9 1/2 in.
2000.41.13

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William Eggleston was initially influenced by his friend Garry Winogrand's philosophy of photographing "to see what something looks like photographed," yet his own style is rooted in a personal approach. Here, he focuses on family members. His mother appears to yawn in front of the television. Eggleston's wife--seen in extreme close-up--smiles toward the camera. Her out-of-focus face and the older woman's blurred movement add a snapshot quality. The television, a symbol of suburban domesticity, sits prominently in the living room in front of a dramatic swath of curtains.

Around the time this black-and-white image was made, William Eggleston had already met his friends and colleagues Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. Eggleston was still experimenting with a style that would not be fully developed for several years--one that later flourished in the medium of color. In this early work, though, the themes and subjects of his photography were already present.