His way of seeing . . .
The following was written by my wife Holly Stiel. “I have always felt that Bill speaks through his photography. He has a particularly masterful style, graphic, humorous, and bold. His way of seeing and capturing the world around him trumps his ability to communicate with words. In fact, on numerous occasions I have been surprised that what he said and what he saw could be so blaringly different. It is through Bills photography that he expresses his deep sensitivity and his appreciation of beauty. During my travels, my camera is my companion, witness to ever changing cultures and places. So as my memory fades, these images evoke those moments of joy, awe and curiosity. They become the bridge between the present which will become the past, but not forgotten.”
My goal is to show the unusual, evocative images that might bring up fond memories if you’ve been to some of the places I visited. I try to avoid the cliché images, often choosing a detail or what I consider is quintessential to a scene. It’s said “objective chance – balance, relationship, narrative, ambiguity, obscurity, balance, relationships” – these elements are open for interpretation by the photographer.
Some of these moments and interrelationships can’t be recreated. Cartier-Bresson called it the “decisive moment.” With a camera it calls for anticipating the peak action and pressing the shutter release a split second before it occurs. This is very important in the field of portraiture and travel photography. Looking through my images, I find many near misses, and some I think are amazingly good.
My first camera was a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye. Think I was eight. Back in the day, banks would offer premiums for opening accounts. Simple, fixed focus, no adjustments to be made. Might say it was the first point and shoot camera in my life. None of these first images or negatives exist. I would be curious to see what they look like now.
I was slow to embrace the the digital age. Pre-digital, I would walk around with three camera bodies, one with slow transparency film, another with high speed transparency and a third with black and white. Each body had a different lens; normal, moderate telephoto, and moderate wide angle high speed lenses. Today, with zoom lenses, the ability to change film speed, color balance and convert color to black and white, for most people one digital camera body will suffice.
The majority of my images are “straight.” Minimal post treatment, usually the same as in a color or black and white darkroom. Cropping, dodging, burning, color correction and spotting. Some images are composites of two or more elements, I believe they are obvious. I try to not overdo saturation and sharpening and retain the feel of the moment at the time of capture.