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
William has taught photography since 1980 for such prestigious
organizations as The Ansel Adams Gallery, the Friends of
Photography, Palm Beach Photographic Workshops, The Maine
Workshops and Anderson Ranch Workshops. He specializes in
landscape and nature photography and is concerned with conveying
the beauty seen in Nature. Currently, he teaches online
courses for BetterPhoto.com.
Neill's assignment and published credits include National
Geographic, Smithsonian, Natural History, National Wildlife,
Conde Nast Traveler, Gentlemen's Quarterly, Travel and Leisure,
Wilderness, Sunset, Sierra and Outside magazines. Also,
he writes a monthly column, On Landscape, for Outdoor Photographer
magazine. Feature articles about his work have appeared
in Life, Camera and Darkroom, Outdoor Photographer and Communication
Arts, from whom he has also received five Awards of Excellence.
His corporate clients have included Sony Japan, Bayer Corporation,
Canon USA, Nike, Nikon, The Nature Company, and Sony Music/Classical.
The Nature Company chose Neill's work to illustrate two
special edition books: Rachel Carson's The Sense of Wonder
and John Fowles's The Tree. Chronicle Books published his
photographs of natural patterns in By Nature's Design (1993),
and featured his images in The Color of Nature (1996). The
Yosemite Association published a major portfolio of Neill's
Yosemite photographs entitled Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness
(1994), which led the National Park Service to award Neill
The Director's Award. His latest book, Landscapes of the
Spirit (Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown & Co, Fall 1997),
offers a retrospective collection of his finest landscape
photographs, based on the theme of nature's spiritual and
~ Photographer's Statement ~
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. My search for beauty is romantic
and idealistic. It is the spirit of the land I seek-be it
in a small piece of urban wildness or in vast wilderness.
Rachel Carson, in her book The Sense of Wonder, writes,
"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find
reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."
Photography is a quiet, intensely meditative activity for
me. Minor White, the Zen-influenced photographer, stated,
"Be still with yourself, until the object of your attention
affirms your presence." When the light and the subject
inspire me, I am compelled to compose an image. The images
that I enjoy making the most are those that rely on emotional
response and perception rather than the spectacle of the
scene. I enjoy isolating the details of a scene, often to
the point of abstraction. By creating photographs where
the content or orientation is not obvious, an intimate and
enigmatic feeling can come through. I would rather make
an image that asks a question than answers one, one that
intrigues and arouses curiosity in the viewer.
Photographing wild landscapes, depicting an image of pristine
beauty, absent of the intrusions of man, is a dangerous
proposition bordering on creating a false mythology. Yet
wild places do still exist. What little is left will be
lost if we don't develop a new and enlightened stewardship
of our earth where Nature and Man are not considered separately.
Barry Lopez writes, "Wild landscapes are necessary
to our being. We require them as we require air and water.
But we need, at the same time, to create a landscape in
which wilderness makes deep and eminent sense as part of
the whole, a landscape in which wilderness is not an orphan."
Perhaps the only way the world will change is for people
to go through some kind of a profound aesthetic experience
that makes us aware that we are personally accountable for
our actions and how we affect the environment.
I can only hope that my photographs convey an enduring sense
of wonder, a deep appreciation of the magic, beauty, and
mystery of the natural world.