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tom moody

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Coincidences is a blog of photo criticism that refreshingly doesn't distinguish too much between "client" and non-commercial work (yes, I've griped here about ads but mainly when they're ruining my favorite songs; that's not to say interesting things can't be found in them). This post rounds up links on Southern shutterbug William Eggleston; a later post adds my reply to a Slate article where Jim Lewis proclaimed Eggleston's 1976 MOMA show "an annunciation of the coming of color." In a reply to my reply (in the comments to the Coincidences post), Stan Banos says:
Eggleston did "validate" color photography as an art form back in the day ('76). I remember it quite clearly. Here was this middle aged Southern guy hitting the photo scene like visual punk. Prior to him when color and "art" photography were mentioned, the usual work summoned forth was the droll, color pictorials of Ernst Haas. But just as the "English Invasion" was not just the Beatles, there was also the work of Sternfield and Shore (not a law firm). Goldin and Meisalis also pioneered and validated the use of color for photojournalism. And Meyerowitz was probably the most popular of the lot, and his lesser known color street work was every bit as mindboggling (if not as revolutionary) as Eggleston's.
I don't doubt what Lewis called the "coming of color" was revelatory when so-called art photography was a grey, carefully controlled arena. My argument is that events outside the photo scene made that coming more inevitable than did the work of one man. But I wasn't there, as Banos obviously was, in the sense of being so involved with the scene as to be hit by a punk rock moment. I'd trust that gut impression more than Lewis's arguments, which just weren't very convincing (though I'm not sure Nan Goldin thinks of herself as a photojournalist). I still think the issue of the "validity" of color (i.e., whether it was important for photo departments to collect) diminishes in importance when you pull the lens back to view the entire visual (commercial art, conceptual art) picture.

- tom moody 8-21-2004 9:50 pm [link] [add a comment]