In Music And In Photography, William Eggleston Shoots From The Hip William Eggleston is renowned for making the art world take color photography seriously. He started taking pictures when he was a kid, around the same time he started playing piano.
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William Eggleston's Music, Much Like His Photography, Thrives Off Ambiguity

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William Eggleston's Music, Much Like His Photography, Thrives Off Ambiguity

William Eggleston's Music, Much Like His Photography, Thrives Off Ambiguity

William Eggleston's Music, Much Like His Photography, Thrives Off Ambiguity

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/575352034/575450315" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Photographer William Eggleston released his first album, Musik, this past October. Peter Townsend/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Peter Townsend/Courtesy of the artist

In the 1970s, William Eggleston shocked the New York art world when the Museum of Modern Art exhibited his color photographs (Until then, most
serious photography had been black and white). Eggleston's pictures of the everyday established color photography and turned him into an art star. At the age of 78, the Memphis native surprised people yet again by releasing his first body of original music last October, an album titled Musik.

NPR reporter Rick Karr speaks with Eggleston and Memphis writer Robert Gordon about the parallels of Eggleston's inventive nature in both photography and music.

Listen: William Eggleston at the Piano

Hear the complete versions of the piano improvisations William Eggleston performed during his interview.

Improvisation 1

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Improvisation 2

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Improvisation 3

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"In the way that you hold a shotgun at your waist and point it — y'know,
you're not looking through the sight? He liberated his camera from his
eye," Gordon says. "To me, that's very improvisational."

"I can easily see a very close connection. But I cannot explain it," says Eggleston.

Click the audio link for the full All Things Considered story and hear Eggleston's piano improvisations.