A Photographer Who Captured American Style in the ’60s

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Untitled, Memphis, 1965–68. Photo: David Zwirner; New York/London/Hong Kong

William Eggleston is known as the pioneer of modern color photography, for his vivid portraits of everyday scenes: a woman smoking in a diner, soda bottles on sunny car hoods, and a boy pushing grocery carts. Each photograph is like a glimpse into how people lived and dressed in the ’60s and ’70s.

Next month, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will exhibit Eggleston’s acclaimed Los Almos series in full for the first time. Opening February 14, the show will feature 75 photographs of Eggleston’s travels around the U.S. between 1965 and 1974. On road trips with actor Dennis Hopper and the museum curator Walter Hopps, Eggleston captured suburban scenes in cities like Memphis (where he was born), New Orleans, and Las Vegas.

The writer Eudora Welty once described his work as an exploration of places, from urban streets to southern landscapes. “These extraordinary, compelling, honest, beautiful and unsparing photographs all have to do with the quality of our lives in the ongoing world: they succeed in showing us the grain of the present, like the cross-section of a tree,” she wrote. “The photographs have cut it straight through the center.” Scroll for a show preview.

Untitled, Memphis, 1965. Photo: David Zwirner; New York/London/Hong Kong
Untitled, Memphis, 1971–74. Photo: David Zwirner; New York/London/Hong Kong
Untitled, Tennessee, 1971–74. Photo: David Zwirner; New York/London/Hong Kong

“William Eggleston: Los Almos” opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on February 14 and will be on view through May 18.

A Photographer Who Captured American Style in the ’60s