Category Archives: William Eggleston

William Eggleston

Dave Anderson at the Center for Photography at Woodstock

© Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson has photographed in tough places—a surviving Ku Klux Klan bastion in Texas, New Orlean’s post-Katrina Ninth Ward—but his photographs are rarely gritty. His Aperture monograph One Block, which documents the rebuilding efforts of one block of Ninth Ward residents, focuses less on the neighborhood’s despair and more on its hopes for renewal. Anderson knew that to photograph amidst such hardship he would have to tread lightly: “I was super-cognizant of ‘photographers fatigue’–people were sick of photographers showing up night and day and making grand promises,” he mentioned in a Color magazine profile. That Anderson spent time living and forming relationships with the residents he photographed is evident in the work—the subjects appear at ease, comfortable sharing their struggle to rebuild with Anderson and his lens.

Anderson produces videos as well as photographs—he is the man behind Oxford American’s SoLost web series, a video exploration of “the side roads, backrooms, cellars and psyche of the modern South,” which so far features 29 four-to-seven minute mini-documentaries on subjects ranging from a couple constructing a medieval castle in Arkansas, to Alabama menswear designer Billy Reid, to photographer William Eggleston. SoLost is a one-man operation, which accounts for the easy rapport between Anderson’s camera and his subjects, and why these videos feel like privileged glimpses into the richness and diversity of life in the American South.

Anderson will give a lecture about his image-making projects at The Center for Photography at Woodstock, this Friday, July 13 at 8pm. If you’re in the area, it will be worth checking out.

›› Watch a video of Anderson speaking about One Block with Aperture, and head to the Aperture store if you’re interested in purchasing a copy.


Shared Vision: A Conversation with Sondra Gilman, Celso Gonzalez-Falla, and Mitch Epstein

Flag, 2000 (c) Mitch Epstein

In the mid-70s, Mitch Epstein was exhibiting some of his earliest work, some of the images first to elevate color photography into the realm of fine art, joining the ranks of Stephen Shore and William Eggleston. Right around that time, Sondra Gilman, who, along with her husband Celso Gonzalez-Falla, has been repeated ranked among the top photo collectors in the world by ARTnews, purchased her first photograph.

She had “tripped over a [Eugène] Atget show” at MoMA, she tells New York Social Diary in an interview (accompanied by dozens of images of the collection at home in their Upper East Side townhouse), and “literally had an epiphany.” She ended up buying three $250 prints at a time when photographs “had no value.” Since then, the couple’s collection has grown to several hundred vintage prints, and their value, surely to no one’s surprise today, has grown astronomically.

Marcelle Polednik, Director MOCA Jacksonville, Celso Gonzalez-Falla and Sondra Gilman at a walkthrough of Shared Vision during Aperture’s Armory Brunch 2012.

On Wednesday, April 11, 2012 Aperture Foundation presents a conversation with Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla alongside Epstein, whose work features prominently in the Shared Vision collection (at Aperture through April 21, 2012). This ambitious exhibition, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville, curated by Ben Thompson and Paul Karabinis, brings together their most iconic images reflecting the diverse nature of an entire century of photography. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by MOCA and produced by Aperture, including historical context for each image and photographer as well as curatorial remarks.

Epstein, who won the Prix Pictet in 2011, the Berlin Prize in Arts and Letters in 2008, and the Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award in 2004, also appears in the New York Times Magazine Photographs, edited by Kathy Ryan, and Aperture issue 168. A former student of Garry Winogrand at Cooper Union in the early ’70s, his work has since landed in the collections of the MoMA, the Whitney, the Getty Museum, SFMOMA, and Tate Modern in London. While his projects often start as independent explorations or excursions, he has a strong inclination to “engage with issues beyond self-reflexive ones,” he tells BOMB in a lengthy interview about how some of his latest projects including American Power, progressed from an editorial assignment, to a print series, to a book.

Watch a great video shot at Tate Modern of Epstein discussing his latest series and exploring what makes a strong photograph. Check out photos from our the walkthrough of the Shared Vision exhibition with Marcelle Polednik, Director of MOCA Jacksonville and the collectors, and the VIP walkthrough during last weekend’s AIPAD Photography Show. And find images of the installation as well as an index of the work on view at DLK Collection.

Shared Vision: A Conversation with Sondra Gilman, Celso Gonzalez-Falla, and Mitch Epstein
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Aperture Gallery and Bookstore
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, New York
(212) 505-5555

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

Aperture aggregates the best posts from this past week in the photography blogosphere.

  • Time magazine’s Lightbox features Manish Swarup’s photograph of a Tibetan exile self-immolating during a demonstration in New Delhi in their Pictures of the Week, reminding of Malcolm Brown’s iconic image of a Buddhist monk who set himself aflame in protest in 1963, and the photojournalistic ethical issues that go with it.
  • Conscientious explores the challenges of still portraiture and points to a new study published by the British Psychology Society which finds that “the same people are rated as more attractive in videos than in static images taken from those videos.”
  • NPR’s The Picture Show features “A Lifetime of Photos in a Little Email Retrospective,” images by “somewhat hermetic” Dennis Darling who relishes “staying under most radar” and rarely publishes or exhibits his work for other than those on his small email chain.
  • The New Yorker‘s Photobooth commemorates Edward Steichen’s would-be 130th birthday with a slideshow of the seminal photographer’s images published in their magazine across the years.  Several limited edition prints from his early work are available at Aperture.
  • “Taking a photograph is a response… it’s a pre-rational response, it’s an intuitive emotional response, it’s spontaneous, it’s immediate,” says Alex Webb of The Suffering of Light in Part 4 of 6 of the Q&A  session with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb by David Chickey of Radius Books at The National Museum Of Singapore on March 9, 2012, now all posted on Invisible Photographer Asia.
  • APhotoEditor suggests, “Perhaps Most Photographers Don’t Understand the Value of Usage,” posting a reader-submitted story in which an “ex-student lied about having [her] permission and gave the image to the college, which then used the image on a billboard advertisement that wraps around a 20 story building on a very busy road in the city.” How was this resolved and did she get paid?
  • Ansel AdamsHenri Cartier BressonRobert FrankStephen ShoreNan GoldinWilliam EgglestonAlec SothDiane Arbus are all photographers you should… IGNORE? That’s according to Bryan Formhals’ brash OpEd piece on LPV Magazine “10 Oeuvres Aspiring Photographers Should Ignore.”  Wired and the Click got a kick out of the post, which was inspired by “The 10 Most Harmful Novels for Aspiring Writers.” We think self-willed ignorance is more harmful than knowing one’s precedents and counter with this oldie but goodie: those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Alex Prager Wins Foam Paul Huf Award 2012

In the clip above, Alex Prager, in conversation with gallerist Yancey Richardson (September 30, 2010 at Aperture as part of the Parsons Lecture Series), talks about wandering through the Getty Center one day, never before having considered photography, stumbling upon William Eggleston’s print of old shoes under a bed and being completely moved and inspired to pick up a camera for the first time.


Out of 100 nominees from around the world, an international jury has selected photographer Alex Prager, who was showcased at MoMA’s New Photography 2010 exhibition, as winner of the Foam Paul Huf Award 2012. Simon Baker, chairman of the jury, said:

Prager’s work is original, intelligent and seductive. She thoroughly deserves her place in the company of former Foam Paul Huf winners, which is fast becoming a who’s who of contemporary photographic practice.

The annual € 20,000 prize is awarded to a photographer under 35 years of age, who then goes on to present their work in a solo exhibition at the Foam Museum. Prager’s saturated, cinematic, stylized and glamourously surreal photographs will be on view in Amsterdam August 31, 2012 – October 14, 2012.

Foam Amsterdam
Keizersgracht 609, 1017 DS
Binnenstad, Netherlands
+31 20 551 6500

Prager will also have a multi-city solo exhibition, Compulsion, on view simultaneously at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York, M+B Gallery in LA, and Michael Hoppen Gallery in London, April 5, 2012 – May 19, 2012.  Huffington Post has a behind-the-scenes photo exclusive of the show and Q&A with the photographer.

Yancey Richardson Gallery
535 West 22nd Street 3rd floor
New York, NY 10011
(646) 230-9610

M+B Gallery
612 North Almont Drive
Los Angeles, California 90069
(310) 550-0050

Michael Hoppen Gallery
3 Jubilee Place,
London SW3 3TD
+44 (0)20 7352 3649

Paul Graham Wins 2012 Hasselblad Award

A1-29 (A1-The Great North Road), 1982, © Paul Graham

Photographer Paul Graham has been named the 2012 recipient of the Hasselblad Award, the first British photographer to win the prominent international prize.

Graham, hailing from Buckinghamshire, is a pioneer of color documentary photography in 1980’s Britain, influencing successive generations of young photographers. Self-taught, he grew up studying the works of American pioneers, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, and Paul Strand. A-1 The Great Road North, a color series shot along the British motorway and Beyond Caring, a string of photographs shot in unemployment offices, were projects that brought Graham to critical and international acclaim in the early 80’s.

More recently, Graham’s work has become purposely abstruse as he challenges preconceived notions of the ‘style’ of documentary photography. The most exaggerated example is American Night. The series, shot in 2003, explores social and racial issues of the United States through over-exposed images that appear almost invisible. “The photography I most respect pulls something out of the ether of nothingness,” Graham states. American Night is featured in Graham’s body of work that is a part of the exhibition trilogy, The Present, now being exhibited at the Pace/MacGill gallery in New York City.

With the acceptance of this award, Graham joins the ranks of noted past winners and Aperture published photographers, Robert Adams, William Eggleston, and Nan Goldin.

Graham discusses his career and fresh photography in Aperture issue 199.

Melissa Harris on Merce Cunningham

Merce Cunningham in Totem Ancestor, 1942. Photograph by Barbara Morgan. (Courtesy the Estate of Barbara Morgan and Bruce Silverstein Gallery.)
Melissa Harris is Editor in Chief of Aperture magazine, editor of Merce Cunningham: Fifity years and Cunningham’s Other Animals, as well as the upcoming ePub Merce Cunningham: 65 Years, co-edited with Trevor Carlson. She is a Trustee of the John Cage Trust.

The irony is not lost on me—as a photo-editor who has devoted many years to a medium known for stilling, or capturing, time, decisive or otherwise—that I should be equally consumed by another medium, one that defies any notion of “capture,” that I am seduced by dance’s very impermanence, especially in the case of Merce Cunningham. Cunningham’s choreography never leaves even a storyline to hang onto in its wake, but rather evinces a kind of isness, as if each dance has an ineffable essence that might somehow be touched, experienced, and that remains vital and resonant long after the curtain falls, so that endings are somehow intangible.

Cunningham’s sensibility was as much about time as about space—or, better, it was about the coexistence of the two and, unlike what transpires in much photography, time is liberated from illustration in a Cunningham dance. Things don’t have to happen in any narrative sense. Time is more about duration—which is in part why John Cage, and the other composers with whom Cunningham collaborated, had such freedom. In photography, conversely, the precise moment at which a picture is created may make all the difference—from evidentiary images to sports coverage to street shots to dance photography.

Which gets me thinking about the ephemeral—an idea that rarely pertains to the photographic object.

Of course photography can help to anchor that which is fleeting—whether it is Michael Jordan in the air, or Cunningham, as in Barbara Morgan’s image of his early solo, Totem Ancestor, 1942.  (Morgan—one of Aperture’s founders–collaborated closely with Martha Graham, and first photographed Cunningham when he was dancing with Graham’s troupe, beginning in 1939.).

Should art have a life span, like nature’s processes?  Looking at Robert Rauschenberg’s marvelous “Combine,” Monogram (1955–59), in a museum exhibition some years ago—the stuffed Angora goat on its platform, trapped under Plexiglas (I assume)—I was so saddened. This poor creature—once part of an irreverent, funny work built of materials that belie any intent of endless durability—is now subdued by the art world, forever viewable, but oddly spiritless in its cage. . . . Okay, that’s perhaps unfair. The choice of materials may certainly have been in part due to the artist’s poverty at the time of the work’s making. And I understand that if a museum pays millions or whatever dollars for something, the mandate is that it will last. Furthermore, I’m all for artists being able to sell their work—how else might they survive? I am of course grateful, too, for the opportunity to see work that, if not for profoundly good caretaking, I might never have had the chance to see.

But what if the integrity of the work is at stake? How does that affect its value—in more than the monetary sense? Maybe the pertinence of art is the thing itself, its “quality of life,” rather than its longevity?

My guess is that, when the supremely generous Rauschenberg was alive, had something technical gone awry with the aging Monogram, he would have been quite willing to pitch in. I say this with some conviction: in 1999, the New York City Ballet staged Cunningham’s 1958 dance Summerspace, which features an exquisite, pointillist backcloth by Rauschenberg, who from 1954 to 1964 was the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s resident designer—décor, costumes, lighting. David Vaughan, archivist of the Cunningham Dance Foundation, in his book Merce Cunningham: Fifty Years (Aperture, 1997), notes that the original set was executed with the help of Jasper Johns (who had the title of artistic advisor to the Company from 1967 to 1980). During the intermission of the Lincoln Center performance, Rauschenberg paced outside the theater, smoking a cigarette and clearly vexed. He had apparently wanted to do a little work on the backcloth for these performances—but the unions wouldn’t allow him to touch it. Go figure. . . .

Jasper Johns spray-painting Carolyn Brown’s costume for Canfield, 1969. Photograph by James Klosty. (Courtesy the artist.)

It is gratifying, then, to consider Richard Rutledge’s photograph of a hands-on Rauschenberg assembling the “machine” for Cunningham’s 1961 AEon, or James Klosty’s image of Johns spray-painting Carolyn Brown’s costume for the 1969 dance Canfield (as Brown’s partner at the time, Klosty had unprecedented access touring with and documenting the Company, as well as a unique and sensitive perspective.  His exceptional images provide an intimate take on the MCDC from the late 1950s to the early ‘70s.).  Here is the ephemeral in the making: these kinds of moments are the stuff of photography. And then there are images of the dances themselves—from the very earliest photos, at the Company’s inception in 1953, right up to those made by Stephanie Berger and Anna Finke late in Cunnginham’s life, in the natural light of his “Beacon Events” at Dia:Beacon (2007–9). And finally there are the images from New York’s Park Avenue Armory “Events”—first, the memorial “Event” in October 2009, and most recently those of the last six performances of the Company’s farewell Legacy Tour, at the end of last year, danced under Daniel Arsham’s dramatic “clouds.”

If dance is ultimately fleeting, photography makes for a compelling partner.

50 words V/14/72

Sleeping till 11:30. (All previous-night flight, & all day studio-catch-up-late movie TV.) Rare to really sleep long. Real refreshment. Day spent cooking beans, writing article never finish that article (East & West=never best). Evening with CH 13—movies of the 40’s. Old movies are like old photographs. You remember so many surrounding things. John’s call from Koln: back from Bonn, off to London, diarrhea outside hotel, clothes in laundromat.

—Merce Cunningham, from his book Other Animals: Drawings and Journals, (Aperture, 2002)

I first met Merce, thanks to John Cage’s intervention, in the early 1980s, when I was an undergrad writing a senior essay on their collaborations with Rauschenberg and Johns. But it wasn’t until nearly twenty years later, while I was editing Merce’s book Other Animals, that I really had an opportunity to spend time with him. Sometime in 2001, I was invited to his loft–that he had shared with Cage–for dinner (prepared by Laura Kuhn, executive director of the John Cage Trust). David Vaughan was there, as was Margarete Roeder, Cunningham’s gallerist and friend who helped keep him in art supplies. At the end of the evening, as I was leaving, Merce handed me a shopping bag filled with steno pads from the 1970s onward, suggesting that I might enjoy looking at them. A selection of these drawings and journals (with additional works and photographs sprinkled throughout) eventually evolved into Other Animals, and he worked closely with designer Wendy Byrne and me on the format and sequencing of this book.  Earlier, when editing Vaughan’s Merce Cunningham: Fifty Years in the mid-nineties, I had also periodically brought Merce layouts of that book to review. He had one consistent complaint: “Do there have to be so many pictures of me?”   My “YES!” was non-negotiable.

Cunningham may not have liked photographs of himself (or perhaps what he might have felt as the intrusion of the photographer), but photographers loved taking his picture, and therefore evocative images of him abound, by myriad artists, including: Richard Avedon, Imogen Cunningham, Arnold Eagle, Johan Elbers, Allen Ginsberg, Lois Greenfield, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Peter Hujar, Annie Leibovitz, Babette Mangolte, Jack Mitchell, Peter Moore, Max Waldman, and many others. And there are of course other kinds of portraits: both Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, for example, made works incorporating Cunningham’s image; and his footprint appears in Johns’s Numbers (1963), commissioned for the lobby of the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. (According to Vaughan: “Johns had Cunningham step in the upper right-hand corner of the painting so that ‘Merce would get his foot in the door’ of the new theater.”) Even William Eggleston, not a portraitist, expressed to me his interest in photographing Cunningham. Eggleston recalled that he’d once driven from Memphis to Little Rock to see the Company perform. “It was marvelous,” he said. “Then after, people were asking him questions: ‘Was the dance supposed to be about this, or about that?’ And he simply said: ‘No, it’s not supposed to be anything but what it is.’” Eggleston added: “People ask me what my work is about. I also just want them to have their own experience.”

Cunningham was adventurous and stunningly prescient. Toward the end of 1989, as part of his choreographic process, he began to use a computer program developed for him, then called LifeForms. His 1991 piece Trackers (the title inspired by the “tracking” function on the computer) was the first work he made utilizing this technology.  And in a 1997 snapshot by digital artist Shelley Eshkar, a seemingly elated Cunningham looks on while two of his dancers don reflective spheres to track their form and movement with optical sensors. Eshkar and his partner Paul Kaiser were introducing the choreographer to “motion capture” (from which derived their 1998 project Hand-Drawn Spaces, and the following year Cunningham’s dance BIPED—the latter titled after a computer program by the same name designed for Cunningham). In the image, one can sense Cunningham’s sheer pleasure in the untried, in moving beyond his preconceptions—always key for him, as for Cage.

Merce Cunningham in the early stages of creating a dance to be incorporated into a multimedia film, installation, and computer project titled Hand-drawn Spaces. Working at the motion capture studio at Biodivision, San Francisco, in April 1997, in collaboration with Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar of Riverbed Media, MC choreographs on screen using “Biped,” a computer program designed especially for him by Michael Girard and Susan Amkraut of Unreal Pictures. Reflective spheres are attached to dancers Jeannie Steele and Jared Phillips to track their form and movement with optical sensors. The data is stored in the computer, where MC can refine it, manipulate it, and develop a choreography. Photograph by Shelley Eshkar. (Courtesy the artist.)


Cunningham’s own interest in engaging with new technology was one of the principal motivations behind our forthcoming epub, Merce Cunningham: 65 Years. Aperture, in collaboration with the Cunningham Dance Foundation, is preparing to launch the project this spring (in conjunction with Aperture’s own sixtieth anniversary, as well as the centennial of John Cage’s birth). With the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Aperture, in collaboration with the Cunningham Dance Foundation, is preparing to launch the project this spring (in conjunction with Aperture’s own sixtieth anniversary, as well as the centennial of John Cage’s birth).

Many in the Cunningham orbit have nicknamed Vaughan’s Merce Cunningham: Fifty Years “the bible”–and as one dance aficionado insisted to me: “Nobody lets their bible disappear!”  Inspired by Cunningham’s spirited vision, the original print book will now be transformed:  Vaughan is updating the text of the Fifty Years book to 2009 (the year of Cunningham’s death), and the entire text will be digitized. The epub will incorporate fifteen-second excerpts of dance footage (with sound)—selected by Vaughan, Trevor Carlson (executive director of the CDF), and others—from some forty dances performed over the span of Cunningham’s career. Also featured will be brief excerpts of interviews with Cunningham from writer/producer Nancy Dalva’s remarkable series “Mondays with Merce,” and a selection from Vaughan’s discussions with Cunningham made after the publication of Fifty Years—in this way bringing Cunningham’s distinctive voice into the picture, so to speak.  There will also be selected drawings and journal pages; a consideration of the Legacy Tour by Bonnie Brooks (CDF Legacy fellow); as well as additional photographs from 1994–2009.  With the help of developer Larry Larson and designer Didier García, our hope is to create an enduring, accessible, multimedia project that will be experiential and more of Merce Cunningham and his extraordinary work, than simply about him.

The final stage performance of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company took place at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris on December 23, 2011. The last dance of the evening was the sublime BIPED. The invocation of nature’s cycles and multiplicity, the poetry in the “non-endings” of so many Cunningham dances—as the curtain falls, one still sees the activity, the movement, continuing beneath it, ongoing—teased this time with particular poignancy. The notion that nothing has stopped just because the curtain has come down fed the desire for the piece to continue, not to end, so that we would not have to say goodbye. The audience’s longing was palpable, and literally heart-in-your-throat breathtaking.

I began this meditation thinking about dance, specifically Cunningham, and photography. Photography, as we know, captures. It allows us to not entirely have to say goodbye, and it offers us the memories of, as Cunningham embracingly wrote,  “so many surrounding things.”

—Melissa Harris, January 2012

Biped, 1999. Holley Farmer (left) and Lisa Boudreau (right). Photograph by Stephanie Berger. (Courtesy the artist.)

William Eggleston: Oversized

Untitled, 1965, © William Eggleston / Eggleston Artistic Trust / Cheim & Read Gallery

In 1976 Memphis-native William Eggleston ushered in a new age of photography with his ground-breaking use of color. The Museum of Modern Art hosted its first one-man color photography exhibition featuring Eggleston’s work. This particular display is known for prompting the acceptance of color photography as well as legitimizing and popularizing the refashioned medium.

With a focus on the mundane, Eggleston has the ability to capture the vibrant nature of seemingly ordinary objects and individuals; a blue tricycle, a light bulb hanging from a red ceiling, a woman’s bouffant hair-do. The normality of his subjects is deceived with his use of rich colors and appealing angles.

Eggleston has gone through his archives and reconsidered some of his work. In an era of new technology, he has decided to enlarge 36 of his most well-known photographs along with some never-before-seen images. By playing with the scale, moving from 16-by-20 inch prints to 44-by-60 inches, Eggleston claims to see things that he never knew were there. Christie’s will be selling the new-fangled oversized photographs to benefit the Eggleston Artistic Trust.

Eggleston’s work has appeared in Aperture issues 169, 181, and 196.

Public viewing:
March 8–11, 2012

Auction begins:
Monday, March 12, 2012
5:00 pm

Rockefeller Center
20 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY
(212) 332-6868

William Eggleston: Before Colour

1000 Words is offering its readers discounted copies of William Eggleston´s Before Colour, courtesy of Steidl. To order your copy please contact tim(at)1000wordsmag(dot)com.

Please see below for more details:

William Eggleston
Before Colour


All images © Eggleston Artistic Trust

A few years ago in the archives of the William Eggleston Artistic Trust in Memphis, a box was found containing Eggleston’s earliest photography – remarkably in black and white. The photos were subsequently exhibited at Cheim & Read gallery in New York and sold. This book reunites these photos in their entirety, and shows the artistic beginnings of a pioneer of contemporary photography.

In the late 1950s Eggleston began photographing suburban Memphis using high-speed 35 mm black and white film, developing the style and motifs that would come to shape his pivotal colour work including diners, supermarkets, domestic interiors and people engaged in seemingly trivial and banal situations. Now, fifty years later, all the plates in Before Colour have been scanned from vintage prints developed by Eggleston in his own darkroom. In the mid 1960s Eggleston discovered colour film and was quickly satisfied with the results: “And by God, it worked. Just overnight.” Eggleston then abandoned black and white photography, but its fundamental influence on his practice is undeniable.

Edited by Chris Burnside, John Cheim, Howard Read, Thomas Weski together with the Eggleston Artistic Trust
With an Essay by Dave Hickey
152 Quadratone plates
200 pages
22.5 cm x 25.5 cm
Hardcover, with yellow imitation leather, with a tipped in photo
ISBN: 978-3-86930-122-8

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