William Eggleston Biography

William Eggleston (American, b.1939) is a photographer who was instrumental in making color photography an acceptable and revered form of art, worthy of gallery display. William Eggleston's photography is widely known for his colorful, vibrant photos of everyday subject matter such as storefronts, cars, buildings, and more. Born and raised in the South, William Eggleston was the son of an engineer and a local judge. He spent his childhood drawing, playing piano, and tinkering with electronics. William Eggleston found great joy in cutting out the pictures in magazines and purchasing postcards, and had a love of visual media. He attended boarding school in his teens, followed by a year at Vanderbilt University. He continued on to Delta State College, which held his interest for only one semester. He studied for five years at the University of Mississippi, but still failed to receive a degree. While there, Eggleston became interested in photography.
William Eggleston's color photography started in 1965, when he met William Christenberry. In 1960, Eggleston settled on color transparency as one of the main media he would use throughout his career. In 1973 and 1974, Eggleston was a teacher at Harvard University. He discovered the dye-transfer process while teaching, and, through experimentation with dye-transfer, developed dye-transfer print, as well as great dye transfer photography such as The Red Ceiling in 1973. In 1976, William Eggleston’s photography was exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Throughout the years that followed, William Eggleston published a number of portfolios, including Election Eve in 1976, The Morals of Vision in 1978, and Troubled Waters in 1980. In addition, Eggleston photographed the sets of several films, such as Annie and True Stories, in 1986. He also completed several record album covers for groups such as Big Star, Alex Chilton, Primal Scream, and Christopher Idylls. In 2003, Eggleston published Los Alamos, which contained his work from 1966 to 1974. He has also made a few media appearances, including a cameo in the movie Great Balls of Fireand a Marc Jacobs print advertisement. Eggleston currently lives and works in Memphis, TN.