Photographer William Eggleston created a sensation in the art world in 1976 when a collection of his work went on display at the Museum of Modern Art. While the Memphis native's work went against the grain of the conventions of art photography of the day with their heavily saturated colors and oblique, seemingly careless framings, in time critics developed an enthusiasm for his work, and one critic cited the show as "the beginning of modern color photography." Filmmaker Michael Almereyda is an admirer of Eggleston's photography, and created a film portrait of this reclusive artist as he shoots a commissioned assignment in Kentucky, travels to Los Angeles for a show, conducts a joint question and answer session with author Bruce Wagner, and explores the nooks and crannies of the small Tennessee towns that provide his inspiration. Along the way, Almereyda attempts to interview Eggleston and comes up against the brick wall of the photographer's reluctance to discuss his art -- as Eggleston says, "Whatever it is about pictures, photographs, it's just about impossible to follow up with words. They don't have anything to do with one another." ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
This film is a very raw and sometimes boring portrayal of a genius. Most of the people in the film are seemingly aimless, blabbering and drunk. At times, the director tries too hard to project his own thoughts. That said, the film demonstrates Eggleston's uncanny and effortless ability to capture the essence of his subjects. Eggleston is unapologetic, egoistical and self-indulgent yet these traits eventually become strangely endearing.
The film brings a certain amount of depth to the man, though not as much as one would like.