Photographer William Eggleston got famous in 1976 when his photographs—derided by art snobs for their bold departure from black and white—were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. According to the Times, the controversial show, with its emphasis on the lifestyles of everyday Southern folk, was received with such dismissive comments as "Perfectly banal, perfectly boring." Now, of course, his work is considered iconic, and the photos' abiding popularity is due in no small part to Eggleston's costly use of the dye transfer printing method, which yields stunning colors.
The Whitney has just opened Eggleston's first New York museum solo show since his MoMA debut. Called "William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008," the expansive retrospective covers the beginnings of his career some fifty years ago to the present day, and includes more than 150 photographs, some never-before-exhibited, as well as the rarely screened video diary of Eggleston's "legendary nocturnal wanderings," Stranded in Canton.