William Eggleston in the Real World

“William Eggleston In the Real World” is a documentary film about the photographer William Eggleston directed by Michael Almereyda and released in 2005.

The film reveals the deep connection between William Eggleston’s personality and his work, and also reveals his parallel commitments as a musician, draftsman and videographer.

The film follows Eggleston on trips to Kentucky, Los Angeles, New York City and Memphis, where Eggleston lives.

Eggleston  is one of the most influential photographers of the latter half of the 20th century.
Born July 27, 1939, he is widely credited with increasing recognition for color photography as a legitimate artistic medium.

His portraits and landscapes of the American South reframed the history of the medium and its relationship to color photography.

He said: “I had the attitude that I would work with this present-day material and do the best I could to describe it with photography, not intending to make any particular comment about whether it was good or bad or whether I liked it or not. It was just there, and I was interested in it.”

The artist’s experiments with color film during the 1960s challenged the conventions of photography, since at the time, dye-transfer photography was considered beneath serious photographers, relegated to commercial prints and tourist snapshots.

He wasn’t interested in photographing “decisive moments” like Cartier-Bresson nor was he interested in capturing extraordinary moments.
He was all about finding the beauty in the mundane.

As street photographers, we tend to find extraordinary moments in life. We want to find the craziest-looking characters and surreal moments.
However Eggleston wasn’t interested in the crazy and odd things in life.

On the contrary he was drawn to the everyday, boring, and the banal– and wanted to show the inherent beauty of things that we often overlook.
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.

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?

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