William Neill, Photographer
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I grew up visiting Yosemite National Park on a regular basis, and so that location is a favorite of mine, and as a landscape photographer, it’s iconic scenery is of great interest to me. I’ve done my share of photography there, but my results aren’t nearly impressive as others. As I’ve studied photography, I find myself going back to Yosemite photographers to study for inspiration and guidance as I work to improve my own work. That’s one reason why I took a workshop with Michael Frye back in 2014.
Another photographer I study is William Neill. What sets his work apart is a focus on light to define his composition, and an expertise in intimate landscapes and abstraction that I find both fascinating and intimidating. My results in emulating some of his techniques has, honestly, rarely seen the light of day because it rarely deserves to, but this is a style of photography I want to spend a lot more time working on.
I’ve owned a number of his books over the years, but there’s a new book that’s just come out, titled William Neill: Photography, a Retrospective. It was originally published last fall in a limited edition in the UK by Triplekite books, and I was able to get a copy, along with a signed print of his that now lives on the wall of my office. The book has now come out in the United States in general distribution.
The book is frankly stunning. It’s broken up into a few sections covering different aspects of his work, including his nature abstracts, a portfolio of black and white images, images exploring the patterns found in nature, a portfolio of new work from a visit he took to Antartica, and of course, a lot of image from his years photographing Yosemite.
The quality of the images is amazing. I’d seen a few of his Antartica images but the entire collection is very different than much of his work, but still is familiar. The rest of the images, about half of them familiar to me, are reproduced with care. I’ve gone through the book a few times since I got it, and each time I see new level of detail that gives me ideas of things to try when I go out shooting landscapes again.
This is a book that deserves to live in any landscape photographer collection, or in the hands of anyone who appreciates good landscape work. Highly recommended.