William Egglestone – ‘Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award’ at Somerset House, London.
Sony World Photography Awards
The Green Dress. It shows us that ‘extraordinary ordinariness’ that many of Egglestone’s photographs have. He photographs what we all may see – but don’t necessarily notice, giving the resulting picture a familiarity and a strangeness all at once. This image makes me think of an Edward Hopper painting too. What has just happened? What is about to happen? Why is she there? The lime green dress zings out of the picture and the wide view gives her context – she is in the middle of nowhere. Read into it what you like because Egglestone himself gives nothing away about his approach when he says “I just wait until [my subject] appears, which is often where I happen to be. Might be something right across the street. Might be something on down the road. And I’m usually very pleased when I get the image back. It’s usually exactly what I saw. I don’t have any favorites. Every picture is equal but different.”
Egglestone creates but is not part of any trends. His images are retro or have a retro feel and recently we have been seeing quite a few ads being produced with retro styling and colours in order to connect with people of a certain age who will remember that look and feel from when they were growing up. In the UK, Sainsbury’s supermarkets and in Germany, Lego are just two of those using this as a way to connect emotionally with consumers. Also, just look at Instagram and other Apps allowing you to turn your snaps into old polaroids or 70’s vintage prints.
Which image would you hang in your home, and in which room?
I would probably choose the ‘Beehive’ image and hang it in my kitchen! It looks more conventional in its composition than many Egglestone images, which break many of the rules of ‘good’ composition. I love the graphic elements and colour palette – the strips of green diner seating, the pink and white gingham dress, the string of pearls around the woman’s neck, the way she is holding her cigarette. One of it’s strengths is that you can’t see the woman’s face or who she is talking to – but I bet she is wearing cat eye horn-rimmed spectacles and is not someone to be messed with! This very evocative image is a slice of Americana as American as the slice of apple pie she may well be eating.
One question for the Image Maker?
Is it true that you only ever take one frame – and then move on?