William Eggleston’s standing as one of the masters of colour photography is widely acknowledged.
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But the gradual steps by which he transformed from an unknown into a leading artist are less well known. Steidl has undertaken to trace these steps in an ambitious series of publications. Before Color (Steidl, 2010) explored Eggleston’s revelatory early black and white images, while Chromes is an edit of more than 5,000 Kodachromes and Ektachromes taken from ten chronologically ordered binders found in a safe in the Eggleston Artistc Trust. This archive had once been used by John Szarkowski who selected the forty-eight images printed in Eggleston’s seminal book William Eggleston’s Guide, while the rest of the archive has remained almost entirely unpublished. This book presents Eggleston’s early Memphis imagery, his testing of colour and compositional strategies, and the development towards the ‘poetic snapshot’. In short, Chromes shows a master in the making.