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Photograph - White Suit

White Suit

  • Object:


  • Date:

    1981 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Eggleston, William, born 1937 (photographer)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case EDUC, shelf 13.3

William Eggleston is credited with playing a crucial role in changing attitudes towards colour photography in the 1970s. Until this point, the vivid colour technologies were mostly associated with garish advertising and commercial photography. Eggleston was a successful and inventive documentary photographer of black and white images before he began using colour. He was associated with the artistic community in his hometown, Memphis, Tennessee, and he experimented with flash photography and unusual camera angles.

In the early 1970s, Eggleston combined his creative approach to composition with colour processes. He did so with such brilliant vibrancy that his images often evoke a sense of the uncanny. They reveal something remarkable, unusual or even disconcerting amongst the everyday and familiar. Photographer Raymond Moore described him as finding ‘the uncommonness of the commonplace’ in ordinary scenes and places. This photograph comes from the series Southern Suite, which Eggleston made during the late 1970s and early 1980s, capturing ordinary scenes of the American South. In this image, the flat white surface of the suit is disconcerting because Eggleston has cropped out the depicted clothesline from which it hangs, which would serve to contextualise this scene. The suit appears to levitate, disembodied, in the frame whilst the shadow of the leaves gives an eerie sense of breezy motion. Eggleston creates a strong impression of the scene surrounding the camera frame, but uses clever cropping to make the familiar subject more extraordinary.

Physical description

Colour photograph of a white suit hanging on a tree branch


1981 (made)


Eggleston, William, born 1937 (photographer)


Height: 38 cm, Length: 25 cm

Descriptive line

Photograph by William Eggleston, Untitled (jump suit), from the series Southern Suite, dye transfer print, 1981

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Myth, Manners and Memory: Photographers of the American South Brightn: Photoworks, 2010. ISBN: 978-1-903-796436.


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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