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William Eggleston Portraits

Angus McBean Portraits cover


Publication Date: 22 July 2016
Format: 280 x 275mm
Extent: 184 pages
Illustrations:120 b/w and colour images
ISBN: 1 978 1 85514 710 2
Price: £29.95 (hardback)
Category: Photography
Word Count: Approx. 22,000 words

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William Eggleston Portraits
Philip Prodger
With an appreciation by Sofia Coppola

Vivid, poetic, even mysterious, the works of the pioneering American photographer William Eggleston portray life in his home town of Memphis, Tennessee, and the people he encountered, from the 1950s to the present day. This book, which accompanies a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, includes both well-known and unseen portraits from Eggleston’s long career, to provide a fresh perspective on one of photography’s most influential practitioners.


‘I want to make a picture that could stand on its own, regardless of what it was a picture of. I’ve never been a bit interested in the fact that this was a picture of a blues musician or a street corner or something.’ – William Eggleston

William Eggleston’s photographs are special for their eccentric, unexpected compositions, playfulness, implied narrative and, above all, his portrayals of people. Over the past half-century he has created a powerful and enduring body of work featuring friends and family, musicians, artists and others.

Eggleston frequented the 1970s Memphis club scene, developing friendships and getting to know musicians, including Ike Turner, Alex Chilton and others. His fascination with the nightclub culture resulted in the experimental video Stranded in Canton (2005), which chronicles visits to bars in Memphis, Mississippi, and New Orleans. At the same time he encountered and photographed the likes of Dennis Hopper, Eudora Welty and Walter Hopps – and for a brief moment Eggleston even entered the Warhol Factory scene, dating the Warhol protégé, Viva.

William Eggleston: Portraits
accompanies the first exhibition to explore Eggleston’s pictures of people. Works included span his career from the 1950s through to his well-known portraits of the 1970s to the present day. The catalogue includes an essay, chronology and beautifully reproduced exhibition plates, as well as a revealing interview with Eggleston and his close family members, conducted in Memphis by exhibition curator Phillip Prodger.


Phillip Prodger is Head of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, London, and was previously Curator of Photography at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. His other books include E.O. Hoppé, The German Work 1925–1938 (2015), Harold Feinstein: A Retrospective (with Jim Fitts, 2012), Man Ray, Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism (with Lynda Roscoe Hartigan and Antony Penrose, 2011), Hoppé Portraits: Society, Studio & Street (with Terence Pepper, 2011), Ernst Haas: Color Correction (with William A. Ewing, 2010), Darwin’s Camera (2009), E.O. Hoppé’s Amerika (2007) and Impressionist Camera (with Patrick Daum and Francis Ribemont, 2006).