William Eggleston National Portrait Gallery

William Eggleston at the National Portrait Gallery

In a bid to reignite my creative mojo, I’m currently reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I mentioned one of the book’s main tools in my last post, but the other concept is The Artist Date, which I’m yet to get rolling with.

The Artist Date is basically a weekly block of time: “…especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative conscious, your inner artist.

“You do not take anyone with you on this date apart from your inner artist AKA your creative child.

“If you think this sounds stupid or that you will never be able to afford the time, identify that reaction as resistance. You cannot afford not to find time for artist dates.”

William Eggleston National Portrait Gallery

I’ve decided that for my first date, I’m going to take myself (lol) to see the William Eggleston photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. It’s been on since July, but I haven’t had a proper “excuse” to go until now.

Eggleston is a pioneering photographer who is quite the living legend, best known for his saturated, dreamlike visions of 60s/70s life in the American south, and credited with making colour photography a respected art form.

Even if you’re not immediately familiar with Eggleston and his work, you probably subliminally are; his aesthetic is evident in the films of David Lynch and Sofia Coppola, plus his photography has been used on many an album cover, most notably primal Scream’s Country Girl.

There is nothing quite like the colour in an Eggleston photograph; radiant in their beauty, that get deep under the skin and linger in the imagination,” ~ Phillip Prodger, NPG curator

His cinematic images are notable for their neutral gaze and sense of detachment, as Eggleston fully embodies the idea of the ‘democratic camera’ and treats all of his subjects the same, no matter their social status.

He therefore effortlessly captures the ephemeral minutiae of life, making diners, supermarkets, phone booths and petrol stations seem at once graceful and mysterious, drenched in a richly-hued Technicolour.

William Eggleston National Portrait Gallery

William Eggleston National Portrait Gallery

The photo of the girl in denim flares (above left) REALLY excites me. I want to draw her immediately. Who is she? Where was she going? And where is she now? Side-note: Can I have her outfit please?

It’s this concept of finding beauty in the banal that’s really inspired me. As you know, I’m inherently fascinated by the mundane of everyday life, preferring to consume blog posts that read like diary entries than glossy magazine editorial and it’s the same for my art.

Some of my favourite artists include David Hockney, Edward Burra, John William Waterhouse, Stanley Spencer and Beryl Cook, who all depict people – real people – going about their everyday lives.

I love that feeling of almost surveillance, without being voyeuristic, or a weird stalker. A narrative is about to unfold, and the outcome is yours to decide.

Eggleston’s photography inspires me. He makes me want to travel (and certainly to road trip through America). His work makes me wonder about the people he captures: who are they? What’s their story? What happened next?

That’s why I think this exhibition is perfect for my first Artist Date. I’m hoping blogging about my intentions will ensure that I actually get off my arse and go. I’ll let you know how I get on.

William Eggleston: Portraits continues at the National Portrait Gallery until 23rd October 2016 (£).

  • Comments

  • Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *