The William Eggleston Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery features 100 works from the 1960s to the present day. Although small, and left wanting more, the exhibition is momentous and both the big and small moments captured hold significance. Eggleston’s pictures are the portraits of a place and time.
Born in Mississippi Eggleston photographed the south, the colour and the temperature. The exhibition starts with black and white photographs but even then Eggleston says he was thinking in colour. The earliest colour photograph is ‘By God it all Worked’ (1965) which was a joy to see. The boy pushing trolleys in the early evening heat and sunset, his golden hair, the metal trolleys and metallic reflections is an intimate story of an everyday scene.
Eggleston’s photographs are of the mundane and the eccentric lifestyles, they are psychologically ambiguous and show the shifting, changing, developing world. As to be expected the exhibition shows how much he was a pioneer and master of colour.