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Classification: Photograph

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Image of Untitled (Gates)

William Eggleston
American, born 1939

Untitled (Gates)

From the portfolio, William Eggleston's Graceland

Object Type: Photograph
14 5/8 in. x 22 in. (37.15 cm x 55.88 cm)
Medium and Support: Dye transfer print on paper
Accession Number: 1991.0015.0003

Credit Line: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase

Untitled (Gates) is a color dye-transfer photograph from the 1984 portfolio "William Eggleston's Graceland" published by the Middendorf Gallery in Washington, D.C. The portfolio was issued in an edition of 31, and this print is from the 21st portfolio issued. Eggleston was the first photographer given access and permission to photograph Graceland, the Memphis home of Elvis Presley, which opened to the public in 1982. Eggleston was a pioneer in the medium of color photography, and created most of his prints as either "C" prints or color dye transfer process prints, which use dyes considered somewhat more permanent than the chemicals used in the "C" print process.

"Gates" captures the view from inside the entrance at Graceland, showing the commercial shops along the street outside at sunset in the background. The gates themselves produce a foreground plane composed of metal fencing, with applied musical symbols such as a guitar and musical notes. The layering of the two planes creates a crowded and claustrophobic image; this is accentuated by the character of the gate itself, its' industrial, mechanical appearance calling to mind the bars of a jail cell that sentance the inhabitant to solitude and confinement. Eggleston's portfolio suggests the melancholy existance of Presley, whose fame and fortune in the end created more misery than happiness.

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