It is a common story amongst the Yosemite denizenship to hear them tell about how the park sang them a Siren’s song upon their initial arrival in the Sierra. In the early twentieth century, even Harry Best and Ansel Adams both capitulated to this muse, returning year in and year out in a search for a greater comprehension of place, pursuit, nature and life. And this cycle continues today with every new artist that is lured to explore the park. In 1977, William Neill found his own life’s path redirected when he came to photograph Yosemite for the first time. Not long after, he began working at The Ansel Adams Gallery as a staff photographer, teaching visitors all he could about the art form and the place that he loved. While other itinerant interests would take him on journeys far and wide, from the American Southwest to Antartica, he would make Yosemite his permanent home. Forty years later, to commemorate his commitment to photography and great body of work, The Ansel Adams Gallery will be hosting the exhibit “William Neill — A Retrospective” between July 9th to August 19th, 2017. Work on display will concentrate on imagery from Yosemite National Park, but will feature additional photographs made throughout this esteemed career. An opening reception for the artist will be held at the gallery on July 15th from 3-5pm and we hope to see you there.
William Neill has been photographing continuously in his backyard of Yosemite National Park since 1977. Reared in California and Virginia, Neill and educated at the University of Colorado (BA in Environmental Conservation, 1976), he has found his balance in the Sierra Nevada . In the early 1980s, he served as staff photographer at The Ansel Adams Gallery, where he was introduced to the work of Ansel Adams and other fine art photographers. The natural environment and spirit of Yosemite remains the constant inspiration for Neill. He pays special attention to the intimate detail and design of nature. His elegant color photographs celebrate the magic of our natural world.
“The reason I photograph is to experience the beauty of nature, of wild places. I explore the essential elements of rock and tree, of cloud and rushing water to discover the magic and mystery of the landscape. It is the spirit of the land I seek to reveal in my images.
Photography is a quiet, meditative activity for me. I enjoy isolating the details of a scene. By creating photographs where the content or orientation is not obvious, an intimate and enigmatic feeling can come through. I enjoy making an image that asks a question, one that intrigues and arouses curiosity in the viewer.”
He is the photographic author of many books including The Sense of Wonder, The Tree , By Nature’s Design , The Color of Nature and Traces of Time . A portfolio of his Yosemite photographs has been published Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness as well as a retrospective monograph of his landscape photography entitled Landscapes Of The Spirit . In 1995, the Sierra Club honored Neill with the Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography. Also, he writes a monthly column, On Landscape , for Outdoor Photographer magazine.
Neill’s assignment and published credits include National Geographic Special Publications, Smithsonian, Conde Nast Traveler, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, Travel & Leisure, Wilderness, Sunset, Vogue, Sierra and Outside magazines. Feature articles about his work have appeared in Life, Camera and Darkroom, American Photo, Photographer’s Forum, and Communication Arts, from whom he has received four Awards of Excellence.
Neill’s fine limited edition prints have been collected and exhibited nationally. Bill Neill resides with his wife and two children in Oakhurst, California.