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William Eggleston at the KBrFundació MAPFRE Photography Center

William Eggleston at the KBrFundació MAPFRE Photography Center

Until January 28, the KBrFundació MAPFRE Photography Center presents the William Eggleston exhibition. The mystery of the everyday. The mystery of the everyday constitutes the most extensive exhibition that has so far been presented in the State about Eggleston. Organized chronologically, it addresses his works in black and white (which are presented for the first time on the occasion of this exhibition) and those that are best known, those made in color from 1965. Since then, the author has managing to change the consideration of what was worth photographing and opened his attention to all kinds of objects, bringing a democratic look to photographic practice.

William Eggleston was one of the pioneers of color photography. He broke the paradigm of his time by making photographs with artistic intent but in color, which was then reserved for advertising and amateur photography.

His work, however, has been the subject of numerous debates and controversies in the field of 20th century photography. On the one hand, there are those who pointed to his apparent lack of depth and content, and on the other, those who felt that his casual compositions lacked technical discipline. So, the apparent lack of depth in his photographs, his supposed lack of photographic technique or the lack of diversity in his approach have been one of the weaknesses pointed out by the most critical voices.

However, Eggleston's ability to transform simple and innocuous scenes of everyday life into striking and evocative images is unquestionable. The photographer's powerful gaze is able to show us the hidden beauty in seemingly trivial situations, full of banality. His first photographic approaches in an initial black and white work around the suburbs of Memphis were deeply marked by the “decisive instant” of Henri Cartier-Bresson, by Robert Frank and Eugène Atget.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Eggleston began photographing everything around him with clear artistic intent and in color, demolishing the notion that only black and white can be artistic. In Eggleston's photographs, behind the mundane objects, there are photographic decisions and disciplines that are, in reality, far from vulgar or improvised. Eggleston aims to reveal the aesthetic potential behind each image of everyday things in a unique refraction of the banal and evocative. Chance and the most instantaneous images can be revealed to be even more enigmatic and suggestive than that thought-out and studied photograph.

His use of color will be pioneering, as, although it took several more decades, he dismantled the belief that serious photographs are only made in black and white. If, as Eudora Welty said, "there is no subject more full of implications than the mundane", William Eggleston's exhibition becomes an essential opportunity to meet again and face the complexity and richness of what we are in our day to day.

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