Alexander Nemerov is the author most recently of Soulmaker: The Times of Lewis Hine (Princeton, 2016) and Silent Dialogues: Diane Arbus and Howard Nemerov (Jeffrey Fraenkel Gallery, 2015). He teaches art history at Stanford University.


Eggleston’s Empty America

William Eggleston: Untitled from The Democratic Forest, 1983-1986

In William Eggleston’s The Democratic Forest: Selected Works, the photographer’s charge to himself seems to be, “Make a picture of nothing at all,” the emptiness takes on a special character. Seizing on the blankness as the very thing to see, he joins the poet Wallace Stevens in voyaging through the God-less realms where it is left to the hapless twentieth-century self, embarked on its own idiotic quest, to discern the difference between the “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.”