About

What I do

Most of my imagery is about understanding the visual world around me. I enjoy doing purely conceptual work - that is, work that originates with a concept and then seeks images to depict it; most of the work I show in galleries is conceptual - but the bulk of my work is a matter of communicating what I see to viewers. 

When the subject is a person, that's portraiture. My goal is to express what I see or understand about the subject, which is why I rarely put people in front of elaborate backgrounds or give them a great many props. In my opinion these pictures are truer and more relevant than "candids"; everyone picks their nose, but gestures and facial expressions and how a person presents hirself, that is unique.

With plants, I strive to catch the geometric or mathematical qualities of a plant, and possibly information about its botany; inherent in that is knowledge about how it grows, how it has interacted with humans, and what it means to us. But I'm OK with people seeing nothing more than "pretty"; to me that's sufficient.

garner narrative contemporary fine art represents me in the southeast USA, with shows in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. Check out the "conceptual" menu below to see images from those shows.

Capsule Bio

I was born in 1965, and spent the first 18 years of my life in Hamilton, a post-industrial town on the southern tip of Lake Ontario in South-eastern Canada. 

I left in 1984 to go to University in Toronto, and on the side studied Western and Chinese calligraphy & painting; that was interrupted by the AIDS die-off of the late 80s and early 90s. I wasn't able to get back to studying visual expression until the late 90s, when I started a four year Graphic Design program at Ontario College of Art and Design (now OCAD University), graduating with a diploma approximately equivalent to a Bachelor of Design (Associate of the Ontario College of Art & Design, 2002). While there I started working with one of the old Mavica digital cameras that used 3.5" disks for storage; I was hooked. 

I had a studio in Toronto from 2003 until I moved to Vancouver BC in 2011. At present I work out of my studio in Vancouver (see Contact page). I have occasional gallery shows, most recently at garner narrative gallery of contemporary fine art, but mostly my work is seen online or in publications like Teufelsfeige un Witwenblume, Historische Zierpflanzen - Geschichte, Botanik, Verwendung (Devil's Fig and Scabious, Historic Ornamentals - History, Botany, Use) by Bartha-Pichler, Geiser, and Zuber (Pro Specie Rara / CMVerlag), the National Geographic Illustrated Guide to Nature: From Your Back Door to the Great Outdoors (National Geographic Society), Lighting, the Soul of Car Design by Driving Vision News, and Utne Reader.

In 2013, Clark Nikolai made a short art-house documentary about me, Bill is a Photographer. It plays now and again at LGBT film festivals.

Inspiration

I greatly admire the thoughtful work of photographers like Endre (André) Kertész, Imogen Cunningham, and Robert Mapplethorpe, but in many ways my portraiture practise is a reaction against pop portrayals of people, especially gay men, that were prevalent in the 70s and 80s. Particularly I am not interested in creating images of unattainable and unreal ideals. I take people as they bring themselves.

For the botanical work I look to Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham, but most especially Karl Blossfeldt.

And no matter what we do as artists, Man Ray probably did it first.