Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thinking of Eggleston, thinking democratically

I made these two pictures on Friday and they made me think of Eggleston and what he had to say in his introduction to his book The Democratic Forest. It was this:

"I was in Oxford, Mississippi for a few days and I was driving out to Holly Springs on a back road, stopping here and there. It was the time of year when the landscape wasn't yet green. I left the car and walked into the dead leaves off the road. It was one of those occasions when there was no picture there. It seemed like nothing, but of course there was something for someone out there. I started forcing myself to take pictures of the earth, where it had been eroded thirty or forty feet from the road. There were a few weeds. I began to realize that soon I was taking some pretty good pictures, so I went further into the woods and up a little hill, and got well into an entire roll of film."

"Later, when I was having dinner with some friends, writers from around Oxford, or maybe at the bar of the Holiday Inn, someone said, 'What have you been photographing here today, Eggleston?'"

'Well, I've been photographing democratically,' I replied.

'But what have you been taking pictures of?'

'I've been outdoors, nowhere, in nothing.'

'What do you mean?'

'Well, just woods and dirt, a little asphalt here and there.'

Talking to Alec Soth about the state of the art, he resignedly says that these days it's more like the democratic jungle.
Such is life...

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