Whether it’s a photo of a pretty young woman lounging in the grass or two friends sitting on a sofa, William Eggleston’s use of bold, rich colors achieved via dye-transfer printing magically turn everyday scenes of Southern life into extraordinary works of art. Credited with ushering in the era of color photography, Eggleston, who was born in Memphis and is now 69 years old, is getting a major retrospective at the Whitney, William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961–2008, which includes a comprehensive selection of his early black-and-whites, his color photography (including his “Graceland” series), and his video work. You’ll also see his rarely screened video diary, Stranded in Canton, (shot from 1973 to 1974), featuring intimate black-and-white footage of friends, musicians, and other eccentric characters singing, dancing, shooting guns, and, most bizarrely, biting heads off chickens.

Nov. 26-Jan. 25, 2008