I’ve been spending sometime with Bill Neill’s new book ‘Light on the Landscape‘ which is a collection of the essays from his column in Outdoor Photographer magazine, paired with his magnificent images. It’s a fantastic resource for those of us who are more interested in the creative aspects of photography, the why rather than the how. Have a quick glimpse in the flick through video below.
For those of you not familiar with Bill, he got his start in photography working at the Ansel Adams gallery in the ’80s where he got to know Ansel and some of the people that were in his orbit – John Sexton, Alan Ross and Joel Meyerowitz to name but a few. Although he has been based in the Yosemite area for the last 40+years his photography has avoided the potential cliches of the area and shows what is really possible when you are true to your own sensibilities.
I was fortunate to take a portfolio development class online with Bill a long, long time ago. It was excellent! He was patient, engaging and a wealth of information. I was just starting my journey into photography at the time and was just entering what has been a long and steep learning curve. He introduced me to photographers such as Ernst Haas and the seminal book The Creation and to Eliot Porter and his intimate landscapes. I learned from Bill how much you can get from having subjects close to him that you can return to at different times of the day, different weather and different seasons. How to really work a scene; how to find not just the obvious shot but to really explore what the scene and subject really have to offer.
I was delighted then to come across the recent interview with Bill on Alister Benn’s YouTube channel. Many of these topics come up in the discussion between Bill and Alister and others that I hadn’t heard Bill talk about. So check out the interview below and to learn more about Bill visit his website here.
I can’t remember where I first read about Carleton Watkins, perhaps it was this article in the Smithsonian magazine. For someone like me, who thought that photography started with Ansel Adams, it was something of a revelation to read about and see Watkin’s photographs of the American west and particularly of Yosemite Valley. While many of his photographs are stereograms the views of Yosemite are quite familiar. It was his series of photographs of Yosemite Valley in the 1860s that helped influence Congress’s decision to make the valley a National Park in 1864.
There’s an exhibition of Watkin’s photographs at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University until August 17. To find out more about the exhibition see here. Unfortunately I’m in the wrong part of the country to be able to get to the exhibition but I did get the related book and have been enjoying looking at the photographs.
Recognizing many of the views made famous through the work of Ansel Adams in the Yosemite Valley made me think about what Ansel Adams brought to the table. Perhaps not his vision but his superior control of the medium and printing abilities?
Check out the video below for more details on the exhibition at the Cantor Arts Center.