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, a resident of the Yosemite National Park area since 1977, is a landscape photographer concerned with conveying the deep, spiritual beauty he sees and feels in Nature. Neill’s award-winning photography has been widely published in books, magazines, calendars, posters, and his limited-edition prints have been collected and exhibited in museums and galleries nationally, including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Vernon Collection, and The Polaroid Collection. Neill received a BA degree in Environmental Conservation at the University of Colorado. In 1995, Neill received the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography.
William Neill – Half Dome and Elm Tree, Yosemite
Half Dome and elm, winter Yosemite National Park, California
The prevailing attitudes of the most ambitious and accidental photographers among us, is in fact the product of myth; that the idea of a colloquial ‘capturing’ of a clearing storm in Yosemite from an advantageous position is possible without much effort or planning. But in reality, the opposite is in fact true. In all likelihood this misplaced belief is the result of the disproportionate number of working photographers to circulated photographs – and that the relatively few published works from Yosemite tend to feature the significantly dramatic, rather than the subtly lyrical (or bluntly quotidian). No, it is indeed difficult to find oneself in the right place at the right moment and – perhaps most importantly – properly prepared. Looking at William Neill’s “Half Dome and Elm,” we are encouraged to believe his process was impulsive, and that the conditions within The Range of Light are always titular. Some might say that is the sign of a great photograph – one that deemphasizes the work behind the scenes, and instead accentuates the flawless inspiration in front of the lens; that it encourages a narrative in step with our need and appreciation for integral, inimitable landscapes. And it is within this context, that Mr. Neill’s photograph from that afternoon has cemented itself into the greater Yosemite storyline. To the point, this image will be featured on the cover of Mr. Neill’s new aptly titled book, “William Neill – Photographer, A Retrospective” which will be available for purchase toward the end of 2017; one photograph having been published, sold and shared time and time again, the product of a dedication to craft and determination of spirit.