William Eggleston is an American photographer that exposed the field of color film photography to a wider audience. In the mid-1960’s, Eggleston began shoot with color film and, while teaching at Harvard in the 70’s, discovered the process known as dye-transfer printing, which resulted in some of his most famous work. In terms of style, Eggleston’s photos display the “mundane” world – everyday objects, people, or habits. However, his use of color allows for a different portrayal of the subjects.
This is Eggleston’s The Red Ceiling, one of his most famous photograph. What strikes me about this photo is that the subject itself is simple – a lightbulb, some wires, and a plane ceiling. Yet, his use of color is incredibly powerful: the deep, blood red overwhelms the audience; it is almost too much to handle despite its simple subject. His use of color here also gives the color a texture. The missed paint strokes in the back of the room and the detailed light reflection at the top seems to articulate that the paint is fresh, untouched. It has a rich, thick texture.
There are a few aspects of this picture that really jump out at me. First the lines of the wires and the roof really bring out that feel of distance. In addition, the colors in this picture
- Brings out the irony and fun poking of society more evidently (obviously Coca Cola doesn’t sell peaches, but the angle and colors bring this out)
- Describes the texture on the roof with whatever is on the roof (at first I thought it was peaches, but it might be leaves)
The main focus of the photo, the signs, is enhanced with Eggleston’s use of color. It allows the signs to pop and that popping creates the irony.
Again, like the previous photograph, it evokes a sense of texture to me. You can see the pattern of the teal pole and how it underlays the wires. The wires themselves are loose and dangling and I think the color gives it that effect. If the photo was in black and white, the grays that would be shown would not give the same contrast of textures in my opinion.