Bill was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne making him a born and bred (slightly posh) Geordie. His whole family are from there, and still live there. He gets back to the north east as often as he can. He studied at Bristol University gaining a BA Hons Degree in History.
Bill is also well known for his acting career. He studied a 1 yr post grad at The Actors Company in London 1999-2000. A professional actor since 2000. Career includes extensive rep theatre experience (Manchester Royal Exchange, Bristol Old Vic, Theatre Clwyd), West End (Spamalot, Million Dollar Quartet, Viva Forever), New Writing (BAC, National Theatre Studio), Film (Great Ghost Rescue) and TV (Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Eastenders, Silent Witness, Robin Hood, The Bill, Footballers Wives, Cold Blood, Jonathan Creek etc.)
As for his photography, essentially he’s self taught, he’s been taking pictures since the age of 6. His work has been exhibited at The Diemar Noble Gallery in London, the Wendy Levy Gallery in Manchester, The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, The Tabernacle in Notting Hill, and Manchester Buy Art Fair. He has permanent collections with Webbs Fine Art Gallery in London, the Mick Oxley Gallery in Northumberland, and the online gallery ElizaTheGallery.com.
His work has recently been commended and exhibited at the 2013 Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards at the National Theatre in London. The exhibition runs from December 7th 2013, to February 6th 2014.
“My primary photographic interest is landscapes, whether urban, industrial, or natural. I am, however, specifically drawn to water. I’m also particularly interested in history, the passing of time, the intersection of man and nature, and, in terms of execution, a strong sense of scale, and the wonder that it can imply.”
I grew up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and have a very close affinity with water. I think it’s pretty much impossible to come from that city and not be moved to some extent by water. You’re surrounded by it.
My grandfather ran one of the last shipyards on the Tyne, I spent most Sundays when I was growing up wandering up and down the beach at Tynemouth, in all weathers, or along the great North Pier that sees the mighty river empty into the North Sea.
For holidays, we spent a lot of time on the coast of Northumberland, roaming the massive Northumbrian beaches. Occasionally we’d make the 12 hour trip down to Cornwall: again, massive beaches, massive skies.
I’ve sailed a tall ship, I’ve taught canoeing, I’ve sailed dinghies, I’ve white water rafted down one of the most remote rivers in Northern Turkey, the Coruh, and for the last 15 years I’ve been a dedicated surfer. Year round. Warm and cold water. From Durness on the north coast of Scotland, to Cornwall, West Coast of Ireland, Portugal, Morocco, and California.
Water has always played a very big part in my life. I get to the sea, or to the nearest river, or lake as often as I can…
The second strand to my photography is History. I’ve always been interested in history. I have a degree in it, Modern British History from Bristol University. I buy books about it even now. I don’t always read them, but I buy them.
I’m particularly interested in things that were once great: faded glory if you like. I’m from a kingdom which was once the most powerful in the country (North-Humbria), a city that was once one of the most important industrially and economically in the land, and a football team (Newcastle United), which when I was growing up, had won more FA cups than anybody else.
Faded glory, a wistfulness for a time when, things that once were, all loom very big on my radar
A Sense of Scale
In terms of execution, I’m interested in scale, a sense of wonder and ideally a hint of the epic, if I can get it. I’ve always been astonished by the world around me, and I try and communicate that in my pictures. I’m particularly interested in the unloved, the disregarded, the underdog. The places not necessarily on the radar, but not totally off it. The unheralded, yet magnificent if you like.
I shoot exclusively with Pentax Cameras, particularly the Pentax K5 Digital SLR. Renowned for their medium format and 35mm film cameras (which I also own and use), it’s less well known that they make very rugged and extremely well built digital slrs, with class leading picture quality and dynamic range. They’re also weather and water resistant, which particularly suits the subject matter that I’m interested in.
I also tend to shoot with wide angle lenses (for sense of scale): particularly the Sigma 10-20 f4.
Whenever I can, I shoot at the extremes of the day: first or last light, dawn or dusk.
As detailed elsewhere, I’m particularly interested in using long exposures, how the passing of time can be captured in a single frame. For this I use a Lee Neutral Density 10 Stop filter (The Big Stopper), along with 1,2 and 3 stop Lee Neutral Density graduated filters.
I’m also fundamentalist about doing as much work “in camera” as possible. I very rarely digitally manipulate my images after the event: I don’t strip in skies from another image or remove inconvenient objects. What you see in my pictures is what was there, not what I wished was there. I use Adobe Lightroom to develop my pictures, not the more intrusive Photoshop. I might adjust contrast, exposure and occasionally saturation etc, but that’s pretty much it. Retaining the integrity of the original picture for me is paramount.
All the photographs in this collection are limited to an edition of 10 prints only for each photograph. They are all printed on Kodak Endura Metallic Paper, which is guaranteed light fast in a typical Home Display for 100 years +. They’re sealed with a transparent laminate, backed by foam board, and floated in a white tray frame.