It Never Entered My Mind

An image is displayed depicting a woman dressed in a traditional kimono, holding a fan up to her face with a downward glance. Her posture and expression exemplify a sense of poise and grace.


The structure of the text has been changed to ensure that there is no plagiarism present, while still preserving the semantic meaning and context of the original words.

I was in New Orleans for a work project, writing a movie treatment about the late Frank O’Hara, and as I researched, I grew to deeply admire him. During his lunch hours in New York, O’Hara would take up a spot in the window of a typewriter store, quickly typing out his daring poems. His ability to be so swift, expressive, and impulsive stirred a sense of envy in me. He made me feel like I was stuck in the same mold of unoriginality.

This original artwork by William Eggleston, entitled “Untitled”, has been given permission to be used by Cheim & Read, New York, as part of the 2006 Eggleston Artistic Trust. All copyrights are kept intact.

I had been pondering William Eggleston, as it is hard to be in the South and not, and I made an association. It seemed to me that Eggleston operated in a close vicinity to O’Hara’s range, refraining from the standard or “classical” way of seeing while capturing images that were driven by wisdom, boldness, and a surprising feeling of tradition.

His works are reminiscent of O’Hara’s deftness, directness, airiness, and sharpness. There is a shared appreciation for the everyday components that make up our lives. The oft-cited Faulkner/Eggleston comparison always felt strained and restricted to me.

If you are interested in an accurate literary equivalent to Eggleston’s work, consider O’Hara. His pictures have an analogous feel of being hastily created and multifaceted. Sharp-edged pieces that reflect a combination of internal and external experience.

When I told Donald Rosenfeld, the producer of the O’Hara movie (which is still yet to be made), of my desire to take a rough-and-ready Eggleston portrait while in New York, he withdrew enough money from an ATM to get me to Memphis the following day.

Five years on, I eventually completed the film at my steady, unhurried rate.


The following is an alternate way of expressing the same idea:

It is essential to restructure the text without disrupting the context or changing the fundamental meaning in order to avoid plagiarism.

Three recognizable brands in the camera industry, namely Contax, Mamiya, and Leica.


When Gus Van Sant asked Bill Eggleston to take photographs for his short movie in Mayfield, Kentucky, there was a small expectation that this would work out.

Eggleston had also taken pictures for other films such as John Huston’s Annie (1982), David Byrne’s True Stories (1985), and Kasi Lemmons’ Eve’s Bayou (1997). Unfortunately, a technical issue caused some of his film rolls to be destroyed, so he had to go back to Kentucky after the production ended.

Coincidentally, this also happened to be when I decided to drop by. After leaving Mayfield, we stayed in Memphis for a couple of days before heading to Los Angeles to deliver a slide lecture. It was a very eventful week.


The fourth point to consider is that the structure of the text should be changed to eliminate any plagiarism without altering the context and the underlying meaning. It is important to maintain the original format of the text.

This image is an untitled work by William Eggleston, which is copyrighted by the Eggleston Artistic Trust in 2006. Used with permission, the image is courtesy of Cheim & Read in New York and all rights are reserved.

The Eggleston Artistic Trust, which has been under the management of Winston Eggleston and Cotty Chubb since its inception in 1992, holds a digital repository of most of Eggleston’s photography.

Through a computer screen, you can look at photos of postage stamp sizes, with many of them arranged by location and date.

With this, it is possible to view the entire Mayfield journey, trips to McDonald’s, and even a few images of me that I was unaware of.

It is an extraordinary photo journal, but not all the images are remarkable–and that is to be expected. I chose to not display what Bill was shooting until we reached the deserted house, so as to not disrupt the real-time progression of events or to erase the drama with photos that weren’t that great.

This fairly comprehensive depiction of Eggleston’s work does have one deficiency, which is that I was not present to document the editing process.

Eggleston has a penchant for entrusting those closest to him, such as Winston, Cotty, and Walter Hopps, and curators like John Szarkowski, Mark Holborn, and Thomas Weski, to handle the editing.

He also gave me the opportunity to capture and choose events from his life, allowing him the freedom to go on living. Subsequently, the title of the Eggleston Artistic Trust can be seen as a literal part of his methodology and a main factor in his sustained success.


It is important to be mindful that rephrasing the same material in different words does not escape plagiarism. To avoid this, one must take care to alter the original text’s structure while preserving its meaning.

At first, I didn’t pay attention to the absurd sign: REAL FIXER UPPER $200,000. It was clear that the house was beyond repair, regardless of the cost, but the shabby look was flawless, and there was one specific feature that Eggleston deviated from his usual practice of “only one picture of one thing.”

He took three shots of the roof. Possibly he was concerned about the gusty wind shaking the camera.

This strong wind, which affected the sound of my camera’s microphone, caused some critics to criticize the movie as a clumsily made amateur work.

In fact, I wanted the raw sound to remain as evidence of the roughness of the movie. It can be seen as tribute to Frank O’Hara. In other scenes, the sound editor (Elmo Weber!) skillfully removed this kind of noise. In any case, it is impossible to determine which of the roof photos is the best.

I entered the location by climbing through a back window, and Bill circled it without any intention of going in—until I opened the front door. The image featured on this page was featured on the cover of Blind Spot magazine, and was displayed at the Cartier Foundation’s 2001 Eggleston retrospective in Paris, which also included the photo in its accompanying publication.


I did my utmost to stay away from imitating Eggleston’s style, technique, framing, and sensibility–understandably, it was a tricky situation. Spending a considerable amount of time with Eggleston’s work makes it appear to be straightforward to produce pictures like his. His pictures deliver a perceptible, replicable aesthetic pleasure.

This has resulted in a lot of commercial and amateur photographers creating pictures that are similar to Eggleston’s, but are not quite the same.

Viva, who was Eggleston’s companion in the 70s, coined the term Fegglestons for these images. It is not unlikely that even Eggleston has produced a Feggleston at some point.


Rumi’s words show that the perspective of a piece of bread changes depending on one’s appetite.

Advice: “Trade in your intelligence and obtain astonishment instead.”


This text has been rephrased in order to eliminate any potential plagiarism by altering the structure while still preserving the semantic meaning and context.

I have fond memories of a version of the movie without voice-over, but after showing it to others I saw a response of unease and occasional hostility. I was then given the chance to view Robert Gordon’s seventy-seven minute rendition of “Stranded in Canton” – thirty hours of reel-to-reel footage from the early 70’s that was distilled by Robert.

He had included snippets of an Eggleston interview, with names and facts that were amusing but had the unfortunate effect of dulling the impact of the raw footage. I was successful in removing narration from Eggleston’s movie and transferring it to my own. However, this need for explanation can be easily taken too far.


Throughout my life, I have never agreed with the supposition that someone who abstains from drinking is more intelligent than someone who does not.

Although it never happened, I never witnessed Eggleston taking a photo while imbibing alcohol.


The artwork of William Eggleston, with no title given, has been given permission to be used courtesy of Cheim & Read from New York. The Eggleston Artistic Trust has allowed the piece to be shared in 2006, and all rights are reserved.

My queries regarding the craft of photography were met with Eggleston’s definitive reply of “It never entered my mind!” during our conversation at Tops Bar-B-Cue.

My questions were blocked out as it seemed they would be, as overthinking, posturing and self-consciousness are not needed in photography. Instead, a good or great photographer is able to observe and demonstrate what words cannot express.

In spite of his denial, Eggleston’s work demonstrates that he had an emotional connection to Leigh Haizlip.

His photography serves as a reminder that any moment–and its associated world–can no longer be found. The elegance of his approach, as well as its casualness, is enhanced by this knowledge. As Frank O’Hara believed, only capturing one image of something increases its significance in the grand scheme of things.

The words of the Rodgers and Hart song, “It Never Entered My Mind,” are something Bill and his wife, Rosa, share as their own.

The lines of the song tell the story of a man who is in distress after his beloved has left, even though they had both predicted it. Despite the fact that his future was laid out in front of him, he kept telling himself “It never entered my mind.”


It is essential to alter the structure of the text so that no plagiarism is present, while still keeping the same context and semantic meaning.

Did I ever consider that the movie might be exploiting its subjects? I believe any filmmaker who produces a documentary film runs the risk of becoming a voyeur.

To illustrate, I will quote a conversation between Eggleston and Lee Friedlander, which Tod Papageorge referred to as the “Fried Egg Event.” This event was hosted by the Yale Photography Department with Gregory Crewdson moderating on December 5, 2005.

Is it your opinion that taking photographs can be considered voyeuristic?

EGGLESTON: Could you elaborate on your statement?

CREWDSON affirms that one is naturally distinct from the world while taking pictures; this is an inherent part of the photography process.

In Friedlander’s opinion, the camera does the opposite of separating him from the world; it is a tool he uses to draw others in and make them a part of the scene. It is a means of communication and a focal point that allows him to bring people into his world.

An additional query posed was: Is there a relationship between photography and veracity?

William Eggleston was quite hesitant when responding, “I don’t fancy myself a liar.”

This artwork, an untitled piece by William Eggleston, is courtesy of Cheim & Read, New York and is property of the Eggleston Artistic Trust from 2006. The use of it is allowed with permission and all rights are reserved.

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