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I recently watched the documentary, “William Eggleston in the Real World”. What a character. I’ve always been a fan of Eggleston’s work. I’m also from Memphis, and his wide angle, color rich shots of the seemingly mundane, register high on a nostalgia scale for me. My memories of childhood days are also vivid, and simultaneously ugly and beautiful, gritty and fantastical. I feel like a child again in his photos. Nothing was ordinary. I can recall crawling into secret worlds under beds, when my own tricycle became a space rocket, and remember playing in sagging, abandoned cottages until my own loud, flower-print-house-coated great grandmother called out for me to get home already to eat some awful egg salad or deviled ham sandwich. I remember my grandfather’s behemoth olive green car and having a burial for a baby bird I found in the backyard. It was a crumpled, featherless thing, but its organs shimmered like glossy, blue marbles. To me, there is nearly always something elegant to be found in what is assumedly crude. I’m also all too familiar with drunken geniuses with the early morning tremble, and I loved them in spite of themselves. He’s truly like the men I knew growing up, complete with the bourbon and the bravado. I suppose the upside of this is it provided him a certain insulation from criticism that enabled him to usher color photography in as an important and valid medium.

© 2009 Jenny Jope Photography

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