William Eggleston signs “The Democratic Forest, Selected Works.”

by Tim Soter

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William Eggleston, perhaps the founder of modern color photography (“perhaps” as I’ll leave a little space for argument) signed a new Steidl publication, “The Democratic Forest, Selected Works. at the Strand book store.  Dapper Bill was gloveless and quiet, but the the room of perhaps seventy-five people snaked throughout the rare book room were electrified by his presence, or perhaps more so by the chance to have their books signed.  His daughter sketched colorful patterns next to him, not looking up. Wristbands were distributed as admirers arrived, and even I, an assigned member of “Group 3” was concerned that at any moment this seemingly frail man might take a break and not return.  I think everyone had that thought during this rare opportunity, which made everyone in the room a little edgy and excited.  Bill spoke very little and signed only his name in Sharpie©, no personalization, in each book. I brought a copy of the original “Democratic Forest” to get signed alongside of the new release.

I had nothing specific to say while he signed my books offering only a “thank you, sir” when he was done.

He raised his eyes for the first time and gave me a polite nod, Southern gentleman style.

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Two modern users of the medium and obvious fans, Landon Nordeman and Jeff Mermelstein.

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Since it’s the week of Steidl at the Strand, Gerhard Steidl had shared generously shared the plan of how the sausage gets made.

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But without a doubt it was this fan who really scored the creative win.  I’m envious.

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