Your thoughts on Eggleston's one photo per subject

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warden

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there is a movie about him on Netflix that looks pretty interesting. maybe I'll watch it tonight :smile:
I find it fascinating to see video footage of photographers at work, and Eggleston is such an interesting character anyway, so it's worth a look. In some cases the camera is held up to his eye for a second or less, indicating to me that he's doing a good deal of analysis before he raises it.
 

Sirius Glass

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I usually get a subject in one shot, however some subjects require multiple compositions. On rare occasion a mistake occurred or the right moment was missed. Therefore I take as many photographs as necessary and usually that is one.
 

faberryman

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I usually get a subject in one shot, however some subjects require multiple compositions. On rare occasion a mistake occurred or the right moment was missed. Therefore I take as many photographs as necessary and usually that is one.

My keeper rate is not 100%. Sometimes I make what I think is a great photograph, and after I print it, I change my mind.
 

Alex Benjamin

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"Often people ask what I’m photographing. It’s a hard question to answer. And the best I’ve come up with is I just say: life today. I don't know whether they believe me or not."

Quote from Imagine - The Colourful Mr Eggleston
 

removed account4

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I find it fascinating to see video footage of photographers at work, and Eggleston is such an interesting character anyway, so it's worth a look. In some cases the camera is held up to his eye for a second or less, indicating to me that he's doing a good deal of analysis before he raises it.

in the trailer the person who talked said they weren't snappier but meticulously composed...
I can see that..
its funny I looked for the movie again to watch it and it vanished. LOL
 
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Arthurwg

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Sterile. The framing is boring too - generic-looking really, with the mat margins all identical in the first case, none at all in the second, just DIY-looking cheap flush mounting. Surprised the walls aren't Government Green, ala 50's. I suspect a lot of the art scene is running on fumes; needs some fresh air instead. And predictably, on that link, inkjet prints deceptively mis-advertised as "pigment prints".

I've never heard of McCracken before, but think I have a cat buried in one of his shoebox sculptures in the back yard, along with some catnip. At least those sculptures have utility, even though they aren't worth looking at. It's all been done before. Time to move on, to the next repeat prank.


+1. The McCracken stuff has got to be a hoax.
 

guangong

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First, one needs to define what is a “subject”. Many times an artist sets a limitation, such as using only pen and ink, or very limited number of colors, etc., but would a group of animated people, or even machinery be considered one subject or many subjects? Or a landscape during different times of the day?
As a discipline, limiting oneself to the most meaningful photograph you believe possible would certainly engage the mind. If so inclined, go for it!
 

warden

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+1. The McCracken stuff has got to be a hoax.
If you consider minimalism to be a hoax, then yes it is a hoax, for you, along with Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, James Turrell, etc etc. McCracken's work is in the permanent collections of museums that matter, and has been since the 1960s, but it isn't for everyone.
 

Arthurwg

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I have solid appreciation for the other "minimalists" mentioned, but McC doesn't make it. Let's just say he's too minimal.
 

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I have sympathy for the "take just one shot" habit. It shouldn't be a dogma: if I have one dogma in life, it's not to be dogmatic...
when I first picked up a camera and took photography classes, I was only taking 1 photo of whatever it was I took a photograph of, and the teacher said if it was interesting enough for 1 photo maybe it would be interesting enough for more. I guess something only need 1 image to remind you of why you took the photograph but IDK I kind of agree with the teacher, sometimes more photographs could be helpful it won't ever be the same but it will rhyme .
Eggleston is currently paired with John McCracken at the Zwirner gallery. The larger Eggleston prints make more sense when paired this way, so I guess we need to buy a sculpture to go with the print.

;-)

https://www.davidzwirner.com/exhibitions/2021/john-mccracken-and-william-eggleston-true-stories

thanks for the link
interesting stuff. physical objects made of color.
outside in and inside out.. I wish I could read more about it !

+1. The McCracken stuff has got to be a hoax.

maybe, but sometimes that is what art is and isn't. its interesting to read someone's artist statement of why they are doing something and how it relates to their frame of mind at that point in time ... somethings we as outsiders might look at as some sort of gimmick or hoax actually relates to something else and we might have missed the point because of our the prejudices and biases and our own baggage we bring when we look at it.
 

Maris

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I doubt that William Eggleston's fame is related to his photographic technique; more best man at the right time.

Eggleston was heavily praised by John Szarkowski the Director of Photography at MoMA and granted a major exhibition in that institution in 1976. Szarkowski was looking to break away from the style of his predecessor Edward Steichen and decided exhibiting color photography would make a dramatic break from the dominance of black and white.

What Szarkowski was looking for was a big collection of really high grade color pictures from one individual. The multi-millionaire William Eggleston had been producing hundreds such of pictures for years for personal creative enjoyment; just what Szarkowski needed.

And it was a huge advantage that the pictures were by an American photographer, of American subject matter, that could be presented both to a high-brow and low-brow American audience.
 

Pioneer

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I photograph what interests me. If the subject I am interested in still attracts my eye from another perspective then I take another picture of it. Once in a while I think it might be interesting if it were photographed low or hi key, so I do that as well. But usually I walk around and find that what attracted me in the first place isn't visible from any other perspective.
Of course I am certainly no artist and have no delusions about being one. If I see something I like I take a picture. Sometimes I go back and take that same picture at a different time of day or during a different season but that is mostly for my own interest. There are some things I will walk by several times before something about it catches my interest.
But I don't have any rules that I follow about how many pictures I should take of something. David Hurn from Magnum, is a big proponent of capturing as many views of something as you can when the situation presents itself but a lot of what he does is documentary photography. In that case I suspect that the people editing his photos for their stories/magazines prefer to have more than one photo to choose from.
 

Alex Benjamin

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I doubt that William Eggleston's fame is related to his photographic technique; more best man at the right time.

Eggleston was heavily praised by John Szarkowski the Director of Photography at MoMA and granted a major exhibition in that institution in 1976. Szarkowski was looking to break away from the style of his predecessor Edward Steichen and decided exhibiting color photography would make a dramatic break from the dominance of black and white.

What Szarkowski was looking for was a big collection of really high grade color pictures from one individual. The multi-millionaire William Eggleston had been producing hundreds such of pictures for years for personal creative enjoyment; just what Szarkowski needed.

And it was a huge advantage that the pictures were by an American photographer, of American subject matter, that could be presented both to a high-brow and low-brow American audience.

Szarkowski had been director of photography at MoMA since 1962, so the break with Steichen had been done for quite a while. He had already curated exhibitions from highly original, "non-Steinchen", photographers such as Diane Arbus and Garry Winogrand. He had also, under Steichen, curated in early 1962 at MoMA a retrospective of Ernst Haas' color photography.

Eggleston was far from an unknown quantity at the time of the exhibition, his originality as a photographer had already been recognized, having been granted a Guggenheim fellowship in 1974 and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1975. He was also already teaching photography at Harvard.

With the Eggleston expo, Szarkowski was simply doing his job as Director of photography. Eggleston was far from the only photographer working with color at the time (the MoMA press release talks about "...a new generation of color photographers"), but he certainly was one that checked two boxes, i.e., not, in Szarkowski's words, "working as if color was a separate problem to be solved in isolation", and, at the same time, still being rooted in the post-Robert Frank aesthetics of "looking at America how it was in the here and now", albeit in a very modern and original manner.
 

warden

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I have solid appreciation for the other "minimalists" mentioned, but McC doesn't make it. Let's just say he's too minimal.
A lot of folks feel that way about Eggleston too. The pairing makes sense to me. Art is fun. :smile:
 

Arthurwg

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I do think Eggleston had some great pictures. He also owned 300 Barnack Leicas so he couldn't be all bad.
 

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A quote I saw attributed to William Eggleston: "There is no particular reason to search for meaning... A picture is what it is and I've never noticed that it helps to talk about them, or answer specific questions about them, much less volunteer information in words." Thinking of Eggleston reminded me of Ernest Matthew Mickler, author of the cookbook White Trash Cooking and others. I like the pictures he made for his books as much as Eggleston's. They don't need no explanation.
 

benjiboy

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With the current price of slide film today, I can't afford to shoot more than one image per subject.
For those interested here are how big his 35mm slides were being printed back in 2018. I can't remember the gallery but it was in NYC. There were also smaller dye transfers on display.

44769265195_371ac135a1_c.jpg

The price of blowing 35 mm slides up to those sizes, I'm not surprised he only makes one exposure per subject
 

Sirius Glass

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The advice is especially good for someone what to learn to improve their photography by learning to mentally and or physically to find the best photograph in one shot. Once learned an occasional retrial can be useful.
 

Evergreen States

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I try to make as few photos as necessary. I mostly shoot digital and when I do I have three 2GB cards. I usually only carry one of those cards and one lens when I go out, the one that's on the camera. I have some 8GB and 16GB cards I use when I travel but I use the 2GB cards first. Sometimes I take one shot of a scene. Sometimes I take more than one shot of a scene. Cartier-Bresson said something to the effect of, sometimes you need to milk the cow a lot to get a little cheese. Photography is a process for me, and oftentimes I don't discover what I really like about a scene until I'm shooting it and trying things out. And even then, I may only find the true picture by cropping. I treat the RAW file or negative scan as raw material, nothing sacred about it. But I try to be conservative just the same. Even sorting through a hundred vacation pictures is a pain in the rear.

With film, I'm obviously even more conservative. I'm currently working on a project inspired partly by the New Topographics and by the general Instagram Millennial/Gen Z film shooter aesthetic that's been influenced by midcentury color photographers like Eggleston and Stephen Shore. I'm poor, at least by American standards, so shooting medium format film does enforce a discipline. My hit rate so far on the project is quite high, almost 1:3. Except of course the roll I lost when I failed to notice the back on my Bronica became dislodged. It would have had some of my best pictures from the project so far, but that's shooting film for you!
 

Sirius Glass

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One photograph per scene pushes one to look at all the possibilities before choosing the best composition. One has to learn to not just take of photograph of what they first see, but to look around and walk around before committing to the one photograph. It is a good discipline to develop and perfect. Once learned one can use it whenever one chooses, similar to one lens, one camera, one film and one developer when one starts out learning about photography.
 
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One photograph per scene pushes one to look at all the possibilities before choosing the best composition. One has to learn to not just take of photograph of what they first see, but to look around and walk around before committing to the one photograph. It is a good discipline to develop and perfect. Once learned one can use it whenever one chooses, similar to one lens, one camera, one film and one developer when one starts out learning about photography.

I started using my little P&S digital to select scenes. I'll switch to BW display if shooting BW film. I'll walk around looking at different views zooming in and out to select the lens and framing. Then, I'll drop something on the ground to mark the spot and go get my tripod and stick it there.
 

jtk

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I usually get a subject in one shot, however some subjects require multiple compositions. On rare occasion a mistake occurred or the right moment was missed. Therefore I take as many photographs as necessary and usually that is one.

Many interesting insights/thoughts in this thread: THANKS.

I ordinarily work along Sirius Glass's lines (above) .

However, I'm increasingly shooting small personal photo projects and no longer aspire to just "one" image.

For example, I buy fresh corn-on-cob from a humble, entertaining man who sells it from his truck. First shots resulted in one print that made him happy, but he deserved better. So I went back and made a half dozen shots, several of which I'll print after coffee this morning. When I see him again I'll give him letter-size prints and perhaps shoot him again...which may depend on his reaction to HDR/comic-strip-like prints (in-camera HDR).

The first print made us friends...my corn is now free.

Not that anybody cares, but I think grab-shots waste opportunities.
 
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jtk

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''''AND fwiw...

I did keep a minty Pentax film camera and stainless reels/tanks, so I didn't drop film cold turkey.

So I MAY shoot many shots of an especially boring neighborhood with 35mm, develop the film (nobody uses labs do they?), arrange on a light box, and re-photograph and reprint BIG (13X19 is my limit. That would mean the photograph would be one-shot, sorta.

Big talk. Will I do it?
 
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Sirius Glass

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Many interesting insights/thoughts in this thread: THANKS.

I ordinarily work along Sirius Glass's lines (above) .

However, I'm increasingly shooting small personal photo projects and no longer aspire to just "one" image.

For example, I buy fresh corn-on-cob from a humble, entertaining man who sells it from his truck. First shots resulted in one print that made him happy, but he deserved better. So I went back and made a half dozen shots, several of which I'll print after coffee this morning. When I see him again I'll give him letter-size prints and perhaps shoot him again...which may depend on his reaction to HDR/comic-strip-like prints (in-camera HDR).

The first print made us friends...my corn is now free.

Not that anybody cares, but I think grab-shots waste opportunities.

In the past I made projects for myself such as that, but more about a place than people.
 
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