Light Fantastic

William Eggleston didn't just make color respectable. He made banality seem, well, colorful

Eggleston Artistic Trust

Untitled (St. Simons Island, Georgia), 1978

Thirty-two years ago, the photographer William Eggleston leaped from obscurity to notoriety with an art-world debut that the New York Times called "the most hated show of the year." It was a fancy dive from the most visible platform there could be, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. "William Eggleston's Guide," it was called, as though he were taking you on a tour, but one prone to dwell on the sketchiest roadside attractions. In a photo by Eggleston there might be a sunbeam that sweetly anoints a full dish rack on a white sink. There might also be...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!