Today we celebrate the 73rd birthday of Memphis, Tennessee, photographer William Eggleston. Mr. Eggleston has been photographing in the American South since the ’60s, and there are a number of his fantastic pictures in the SFMOMA collection. While I was searching for something special of his to share this afternoon, I was struck especially by these three pictures taken in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, in the early ’70s. “Tallahatchie” reminded me of that sad Southern Gothic top-4 Billboard hit of 1967, Ode to Billie Joe, and, thank the Internet, I’ve just discovered that Mississippi-born Bobbie Gentry, who wrote and recorded the song, also celebrates a birthday today (68!). Cheers to these two chroniclers of a very particularly American tempo, soul, geography, color, milieu.
Here’s Bobbie performing Ode to Billie Joe, on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967:
More William Eggleston.