Eggleston began to take photographs in 1962, after becoming fascinated with the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson. In the mid-1960s, he experimented with colour photography, at a time when serious photographers were expected to use only black and white. His subject matter was drawn from his immediate surroundings in Memphis and Mississippi, and often included friends and family.

The saturated colours of these photographs, achieved using a dye-transfer printing technique, together with unusual camera angles and atmospheric settings immerse the viewer in his unique vision of the world. A selection formed the basis of a highly influential solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the accompanying book, William Eggleston’s Guide (1976). His subsequent publications have included The Democratic Forest (1989), Ancient and Modern (1992), and most recently Los Alamos (2003).