UNDERCOVER #8: WILLIAM EGGLESTON
by Gianpaolo Arena


JOANNA NEWSOM & THE YS STREET BAND “EP” 2007 Drag City



Photo: William Eggleston “Untitled”, 1980

This EP from the young Californian musician, whose title refers to Springsteen, is an intimate disc both in harp and voice. The successor of YS is a brave and visionary album that highlights the orchestral arrangements and the talented co-production of Van Dyke Parks. In these songs the arrangements of strings and parks are more discrete, the production feels measured and the harmonies are delicate and kind. The atmosphere is dear to progressive folk and to Newsom’s more or less declared influences: Pentagle and Bert Jansch solo, Incredible String Band, Karen Dalton and Jude Sill. The instrumentation used seems to recall the echoes and reverberations of the best traditions of the Anthology of American Folk Music with good evidence of guitar, banjo, drums, accordion, clarinets, harp, theremin and string coda. A simple and gentle image by William Eggleston in the cover is followed by a photograph of Mount Fuji with Blossom Tree by Kyomasa Miyashita, almost as if the two worlds were facing each other. As if Eggleston’s gaze revealed a pure enchantment to the world, where man and nature watch upon one another with the same interest and curiosity.

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LINKS


© William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008. This candid interview with photographer William Eggleston was conducted by film director Michael Almereyda on the occasion of the opening of Eggleston's retrospective William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. A key figure in American photography, Eggleston is credited with helping to usher in the era of color photography. Eggleston discusses his shift from black and white to color photography in this video as, "it never was a conscious thing. I had wanted to see a lot of things in color because the world is in color". Also included in this video are Eggleston's remarks about his personal relationships with the subjects of many of his photographs.



© Eva Vermandel, Joanna Newsom, billboard installation at Sydney Festival

© All copyright remains with the photographer and property

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Undercover is a special issue dedicated to photographers and musical covers.