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William Eggleston in the Real World

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William Eggleston in the Real World


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With his documentary William Eggleston in the Real World, filmmaker Michael Almereyda poses a fundamental question to the renowned photographer: What does it mean to see the world so differently that "common" images are converted into unforgettable photos?

"I like to photograph democratically," William Eggleston has said - a quote that doesn't quite account for the unique range and scope of his work, an ongoing project to describe the unreasonable beauty of "ordinary" contemporary life.

Eggleston's groundbreaking exhibitions at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1976 - the museum's first solo show featuring color photography - was received with a great deal of bewilderment. It was described by The New York Times as "the most hated show of the year"

 Over the last three decades, Eggleston's photographs have generated a profound and sweeping influence. No other photographer has matched his bold and nuanced use of color, or his singular ability to locate emotional undercurrents within commonplace surface facts.

Eggleston's photographs can now be found in the collections of major museums throughout the world, and are the subject of retrospectives and traveling exhibitions. In 1998 he was the recipient of the Hasselblad Award and, in 2004, the Getty Images Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute of Contemporary Photography.

Filmmaker Michael Almereyda first met Eggleston at a Memphis wedding in the early '90's. He'd been enthralled by Eggleston's pictures, and wanted to pose a few fundamental questions: What does it mean to see the world differently? What alchemical process allows this particular artist to convert "common" reality into consistently surprising, unforgettable images? How does an essentially private vision get translated into pictures?

These questions would eventually be answered by Almereyda's documentary William Eggleston in the Real World.
It is rare for an artist of such stature to allow himself to be shown as unguardedly as Eggleston does in this intimate portrait. Almereyda tracks the photographer on trips to Kentucky, Los Angeles and New York, but gives particular attention to downtime in Memphis, Eggleston's home base.

All so as to show a deep connection between Eggleston's enigmatic personality and his groundbreaking work, and also reveals his parallel commitments as a musician, draftsman and videographer. Eggleston, age 65, has become an icon and inspiration to artists worldwide.

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