William Eggleston: Portraits

The renowned photographer's largest London show in over a decade.

Until the late 60s, art photography tended to be black and white. Colour was associated with commercial work, with advertising. By departing from an exclusively monochrome palette and experimenting with the complex and expensive ‘dye transfer’ technique, William Eggleston changed all that, casting his view of the American South – from diner interiors and gas stations to portraits – in vivid hues.

The latter are the focus of the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition, Eggleston’s largest London show in more than a decade. It features family, friends and celebrities he met on the nightclub scene in his hometown of Memphis. A previously unseen image of Joe Strummer enjoying a beer in a sunny courtyard is accompanied by a shot of a young Dennis Hopper driving along an empty highway.

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His earliest photographic experiments before the introduction of colour are on display for the first time. Inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson’s ground-breakingly candid images, Eggleston used police surveillance film, spy cameras and DIY techniques such as self-cut sprockets to produce secretive images of life in modern America.

Venue details

National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place London WC2H 0HE 020 7306 0055 www.npg.org.uk

Entry details

£3.50 with National Art Pass (standard entry £7)

Sat – Wed, 10am – 6pm
Thu – Fri, 10am – 9pm

Closed 24 – 26 Dec

Book online via the National Portrait Gallery website