The photography of William Eggleston

A native Southerner raised on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, Eggleston has created a singular portrait of his native South since the late 1960s. After discovering photography in the early 1960s, he abandoned a traditional education and instead learned from photographically illustrated books by Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Frank. Although he began his career making black-and-white images, he soon abandoned them to experiment with color technology to record experiences in more sensual and accurate terms at a time when color photography was largely confined to commercial advertising. In 1976 with the support of John Szarkowski, the influential photography historian, critic, and curator, Eggleston mounted “Color Photographs” a now famous exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. William Eggleston’s Guide , in which Szarkowski called Eggleston’s photographs “perfect,” accompanied this groundbreaking one-person show that established his reputation as a pioneer of color photography. His subjects were mundane, everyday, often trivial, so that the real subject was seen to be color itself. These images helped establish Eggleston as one of the first non-commercial photographers working in color and inspired a new generation of photographers, as well as filmmakers. 

Eggleston has published his work extensively. He continues to live and work in Memphis, and travels considerably for photographic projects. (x)


Post-mortem photography is the practice of photographing the recently deceased. All the women that appear in this picture were dead. The lowered one’s face was disfigured.

I’m going to disagree with this. Just because a photo is a little different doesn’t make it a post mortem. There is no suggestion here that the people pictured are deceased. It would be really REALLY weird if this group of women were dead and photographed together in matching attire. Usually when someone died and post mortem photography was used they would have the picture taken with their family or they would be posed by themselves. There is also no evidence of hollow, shrunken eyes (like on a cadaver) or an unusually stiff position that would suggest a stand is holding up a corpse.
As for the “disfigured” woman, she probably turned around to fix her dress or something like that when the photo was taken. This would be like if you took a family portrait but you blinked. They weren’t able to delete photos so they probably just kept it.

Just because a photo is old and a little weird doesn’t make it a post mortem!!!


Photography series by UWE student Dan Wye. The series is called Ageing Oak and was shot in The Natural History Museum and looks into the human obsession of preserving life. The main focus of the series is on Natural History displays and taxidermy. Dan’s personal interests lie in the scientific side of taxidermy as it is considered to be a reputable way of presenting a specimen but yet most are posed by people who would never have seen the creature in the wild. It is this pseudo-science that he  looks to explore within this series. 

You can see more of Dan’s work on