Inspiration: William Neill’s Yosemite Volume One

| August 21, 2010

When I started photographing in earnest a couple of decades ago (hard to fathom,) inspiration seemed boundless. Everything was new, unphotographed, and possessing secrets and opportunities for images to capture and to share. It was as though I was making my own inspiration, oblivious to the works of other photographers, which were largely not available to me then.

I’m sure many can relate, but once the creative fire was lit and became as much an obsessive need as a pursuit, I became thirsty for inspiration. In those days there was little to be found on the Internet and my primary sources for appreciating and learning from the works of others were galleries and books. I can still remember the thrill of opening a new glossy books rich in excellent photography, the scent of the pages, the intrigue with both the images and trying to read the photographer’s mind – what they thought and felt, what equipment they used; and at the time – what the chances were that I’ll get to see these places for myself…

One of those books was William Neill’s “Landscapes of the Spirit” and, as fate and a lot of hard work would have it, I did manage to not only visit these places but also to make a life for myself among them and to experience them in ways I never knew possible.

I always find creative work more meaningful knowing a little about the person behind them. When I first encountered Neill’s work, he was an opaque “big name” to me. In recent years I came to appreciate both his hard work photographing and writing about the landscape, and his generosity and responsiveness as a person.

My reason for recommending Bill’s work is not only for its beauty, but also because he deserves it. Call it my small way of thanking him for the inspiration in those early years and since. His most recent eBook: “William Neill’s Yosemite: Volume One” continues his legacy of excellence and inspiration. Load it to your computer, set aside a quiet evening, and page through it in a dark room.

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Category: All Posts, Thoughts and Musings

About the Author ()

Guy Tal is an author and photographic artist. He resides in a remote part of Utah, in a high desert region known as the Colorado Plateau—a place that inspired him deeply for much of his life and that continues to feature in his images and writing. In his photographic work, Guy seeks to articulate a reverence for the wild. He writes about, and teaches, the values of living a creative life and finding fulfillment through one’s art.

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  1. Celebrating Wilderness By William Neill » Landscape Photography Blogger | August 29, 2010
  1. Dan Baumbach says:

    William Neill was as still is an inspiration for me. For those of us who’d rather have a book in our lap instead of a computer screen, I believe Neill’s Yosemite book published by The Yosemite Association is still in print.

  2. Like Ansel Adams he is a big inspiration a reference.
    I will buy the desktop version.

    Guy, thanks for share!
    I think that you’re a inspiration also and big one!


  3. Guy, Thanks for the kind words! It is so rewarding to provide inspiration, and make the past 25 years of hard work worthwhile!

    Dan, thanks for mentioning my Yosemite book. Yes, it is still in print but hard to find at the moment. Publisher is reprinting in the fall. I have a few:

  4. For my you are also an inpiration, Guy!
    Cheers for you and William.

    Marco Santos Marques
    Lightscapes in Nature

  5. William Neill was a long time friend with my father. They inspired each other and both taught at the Ansel Adams workshops. I have a book or two of his and they are well-worth looking to inspiring photography examples.

  6. Thanks for this Guy. I’d not heard of William Neill before but looking at his work I realise I’ve bee missing something. He’s a worthy successor to Ansel Adams.

    I’d love to visit Yosemite sometime, but I live across the far side of the Atlantic. Still, I have the European Alps and I can gain inspiration from photographers like this.

    Thanks again

  7. Ed Cooley says:

    Kudos Guy, like you, Mr. Niell has been an inspiration to me too. You both look beyond the obvious to see the art in everyday scenes.


  8. I count Bill as an inspiration in my own work as well. I remember well my early days in the medium and the drive to consume any information regarding photography, especially scenic and nature photography. Seeing Bill’s work in the Ansel Adams Gallery, looking through his books and reading his column in OP were all wonderful sources of knowledge and built a desire to go further. Thanks to Bill and thanks Guy for the wonderful article.

  9. Richard Wong says:

    I was blown away by Bill’s work when I saw it on display at the Weston Gallery in Carmel a number of years ago. I also own his Yosemite book and it is one of my favorite photo books in my collection. I’ll have to pick up Landscapes of the Spirit if I can find it for a decent price.

  10. Brian Rueb says:

    I remember when books and galleries were the only way to view and appreciate new work, and find inspiration. I kind of miss those days…where the images you saw were the way they were intended to be seen. Now with the computers, while there is certainly more access to seeing work, it’s never seen the way it’s truly meant to be viewed…everyone has different monitors, files can’t be really seen big due to fear of theft…it’s blessing and curse I guess…

    I always enjoy the blogs Guy keep it up.