William Eggelston’s Advice on Photographing Strangers




Q: “You never got your ass kicked for taking a picture?”

A: “Occasionally I will. But usually what I’ll say is, [in an overtly upbeat, ingenuous voice] ‘May I take your picture? I’m from Memphis!’ I have found that always works. They say, ‘Oh, sure’. There’s some magic about that, ‘I’m from Memphis!’ I just stumbled on it. Nobody told me that secret. You can use it yourself. Just say, ‘Hey, I’m from Memphis!’ For some reason they know that word ‘Memphis’. You could say some other city, I don’t think it would have the same ring to it. Say, ‘I’m from Savannah’, I don’t think that would work.”

Q: “It works overseas, too?”

A: “Oh, yeah. Memphis is one of the few places… you could go to Tibet, and say ‘I’m from Memphis!’, and they’d say, ‘Ohhhh, Elvis!’ You couldn’t say any other name. Jesus Christ they never heard of…”

The Condition of Music

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  1. Mark J P says:

    Ha.. I guess I’m going to have to ditch my British accent in order to attempt this. 😉

  2. Thomas this blog post is GOLD! LOL I’m going to try this out next time.

  3. Mark Kalan says:

    I’m fron New York has always worked for me….
    Like here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mark_kalan/7783262110/in/photostream

  4. Clearlight says:

    I always say: “May I take your picture? I know Thomas Hawk!”

    It works, as Linda would say, “… like buttah”