Reading on old New Yorker (from the pile of 2008 issues I’ve got in the printing room), I found a Peter Schjeldahl review of a William Eggleston show the Whitney in New York.
So much has been written about Eggleston that it almost makes me regret liking his work (like a movie that once ‘belonged’ to you, but has now won multiple awards). However, this comment I hadn’t seen before.
Schjeldahl sums up his review by saying: “I think the emotional key to his genius is a stocial loathing, unblinking in the face of one scandalously uncongenial otherness after another. His subjects have no ascertainable dignity, except that of stubbornly existing. Nor does the hurting hipster behind the camera. All glory, such as it is, accrues to the art of photography, which doesn’t care what it beholds even as it burns it, through the eye, into the soul.”
That comment I might have thought of in relation to Martin Parr – but now I’m going to haul out my Eggleston books again with the words ‘stocial loathing’ in my head.
It also made me think of going to San Francisco in the 1990s and asking at a dealer gallery to see the Eggleston prints they had. The assistant was interested that we liked his work, explaining that opinion in the States tended to be divided about worth of the work. Times change…
Here’s the link to the full copy of the review: