Four years before
made a name for himself with his career-launching photo book Sleeping by the Mississippi
(2004), he was a virtually unknown photographer who wanted to take a portrait of his idol,
Soth showed up at Eggleston’s home hoping for a portrait session, but he found the color photography pioneer—who has long had a reputation of enjoying booze and having a rebellious streak—passed out in front of his house, his wife having locked him out. Soth eventually got his portrait after waking up Eggleston and spending the day with him, but it wasn’t the photograph he intended. After Eggleston’s wife kicked Soth out, he surreptitiously took his idol’s photo through the back door while he hunched over his synthesizer. Fifteen years later, Eggleston’s son asked Soth if he could use the cover for his father’s album of musical compositions.
“The great thing about Magnum photographers is that they meet artists as equals, but here that wasn’t the case: It was Soth going to meet his great hero and then finding said hero unconscious on the lawn,” Bainbridge said. “The final picture is completely different from any other picture in the book in the sense that it’s a stolen moment.”