The Outlands, a series of photographs taken by Eggleston between 1969 and 1974, establishes the groundbreaking visual themes and lexicon that the artist would continue to develop for decades to come. The work offers a journey through the mythic and evolving American South, seen through the artist’s lens: vibrant colors and a profound sense of nostalgia echo throughout Eggleston’s breathtaking oeuvre. His motifs of signage, cars, and roadside scenes create an iconography of American vistas that inspired a generation of photographers. With its in-depth selection of unforgettable images – a wood-paneled station wagon, doors flung open, parked in an expansive rural setting; the artist’s grandmother in the moody interior of their family’s Sumner, Mississippi home – The Outlands is emblematic of Eggleston’s dynamic, experimental practice. The breadth of work reenergizes his iconic landscapes and forms a new perspective of the American South in transition.
Accompanying the ninety brilliant Kodachrome images and details, a literary, fictional text by the critically acclaimed author Rachel Kushner imagines a story of hitchhikers trekking through the Deep South. New scholarship by Robert Slifkin reframes the art-historical significance of Eggleston’s oeuvre, proposing affinities with work by Marcel Duchamp, Dan Graham, Jasper Johns, and Robert Smithson. A foreword by William Eggleston III offers important insights into the process of selecting and sequencing this series of images.