When William Eggleston’s second artist’s book Morals of Vision was first published in 1978 in a limited edition of 15, only a handful of lucky people were able to obtain it; it has since become a collectible rarity. That is now to change with this new Steidl edition, which includes an extra photo not used in the original edit and re-imagines Morals of Vision as a trade book for the general public.
The original Morals of Vision contains eight color coupler prints of Eggleston’s archetypal still lifes, landscapes and portraits which glorify the banal and have since changed the history of color photography. “There is no particular reason to search for meaning,” Eggleston has said of his work in general, a sentiment in contrast with the title Morals of Vision which suggests that there are indeed principles of a kind to be learnt from the images in this book. Yet the lessons in photos including those of a broom leaning again a wall, green grain silos in the fading light, and an off-center electric candle complete with fake wax, remain Eggleston’s own ironic secret.