My photo treasures: William Neill

I am not sure anymore when and where I have first encountered the photography of William Neill, but I think it may have been the article Thinking in Themes on the Luminous Landscape. "Dawn, Lake Louise" is the first photograph in that article and is one of my most preferred (intimate) landscape photographs ever. I think that I have a weakness for blue, but the peaceful atmosphere and masterly composition really make this photograph special and unique. The slowly disappearing rocks in the foreground pull my eye into the photograph and the dark ridges on both side lead it to the bright and shiny line in the background. A wonderful photograph that is also enclosed in William Neill's wonderful coffee table book "Landscapes of the Spirit" and that is also shown here.

Photograph © William Neill, "Dawn, Lake Louise, Banff National Park

William Neill is a very well-known and much acclaimed photographer whose work has been published in numerous magazines and received many prizes. I very much appreciate his simple and often minimalistic compositions that highlight subtle details and patterns in nature. I believe that many of the photographs have been taken in the surroundings of Yosemite National Park, where William Neill lives since a long time. However, they do not feature well-known and much photographed landmarks, but rather reveal hidden treasures. William Neill's photographs represent an intimate view of the beauty of his surroundings and of nature and convey a tranquil and quite mood. To me, William Neill shows that fantastic photographs do not need vast vistas and spectacular scenes but that the spectacular and beautiful can be found everywhere; in the details of nature that are to be discovered and explored even in your backyard. This is also emphasized in William Neill's photographer 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."

Below is a very nice movie recording of William Neill talking about and giving background on the capture of fifteen of his photographs ("Dawn, Lake Louise" is number 11). If you would like to view more of William Neill's photographs I encourage you to visit the portfolios on his web site. In addition to spiritual and intimate landscape visions, there is for example the more experimental portfolio entitled impressions of light and the tryptych series showing changing light or moving clouds in series of three.
Enjoy!

2011/12/06 by Florian Freimoser
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