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The Long Road

August 4th, 2017


Introductory Essays by Art Wolfe and John Weller

Size: 280mm x 280mm (11×11 inches)

Pages: 214

Photographic Illustrations: 151

Available: October, 2017
Standard Edition £49.50 ($64.00 USD)

YOUR own poetic sensibility has greatly enhanced your ability to create realities that transcend surface realities… Your images have a presence that very few photographers achieve.
 -Jerry Ueslmann

There is wonder all around us; William Neill translates it all
into photographic poetry
-Art Wolfe

William Neill is one of the great landscape photographers of the last hundred years. His images – stunning, haunting, breathtaking, poetic – speak for themselves. There are no words necessary, just admiration. Through, in his own words, “observation and immersion” he has seen and recorded the beauty of the planet. But, more than that, he had captured its spirit. Again and again he shows us “the thread which holds all things together”.
This book is an instant classic; truly one for the ages.
– Dewitt Jones

William Neill has been an inspiration to me since my earliest days photographing the American West. His quiet and thoughtful compositions always inspire contemplation and solace.
-Guy Tal

During a recent workshop someone asked me about my favorite photographers, and one of the first names that came to mind was my friend William Neill. Bill has been producing consistently beautiful and innovative photographs of nature for decades,
and his new retrospective book looks wonderful.
-Michael Frye

Though Bill is a consummate artist, his drive is not to create art. Bill’s drive is to communicate the importance and fragility of nature. He does so through intimate details and sheer majesty. But photography, for Bill, is not the end in and of itself, but a means to his end, a tool. He has devoted all of his unique skill, and his entire life, to connecting people
with our endangered natural world.
 -John Weller

William Neill is widely recognized as one of America’s finest landscape photographers. Widely published and exhibited, his work is truly inspirational.
-Michael Reichmann, 2008

Neill is a master who has been an inspiration to me for over two decades. His images have a delicate elegance that few others achieve.
-Sean Bagshaw


The Long Road
(originally published at The Luminous Landscape)

We all walk the long road. Sometimes the light is all shining on me, sometimes I can barely see. What a long strange trip it has been, on this long and winding road. These lines from classic rock and roll songs pop into my head as I try to write about my four decades as a landscape photographer. You may ask yourself, how did I get here?

When I was growing up, my family often spent time outdoors. On weekends, we’d picnic in local redwood forests or beaches near our home in the San Francisco Bay Area. During most summers, we’d spend a week or two visiting National Parks such as Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Sequoia or Yosemite. These family road trips sparked my love of nature.

This passion became solidified in the face of personal tragedy when I was eighteen. While working a summer job in Glacier National Park before starting college in the fall, I learned that my brother had died of a brain aneurism. My immersion in that mountainous landscape during a time of great personal distress opened my eyes to the restorative powers of nature, and led me to a life in photography. At some deep level, the beauty of my surroundings seeped into my subconscious—the lush colors of a meadow dense with wildflowers, the energy of a lightning storm, the clarity of a mountain lake. In an effort to capture and convey these life-affirming discoveries, I began to photograph as I backpacked throughout Glacier. Within a few years, all I wanted to do was make photographs!


Just a few years after buying my first camera in 1974, I moved to Yosemite and never left. Living in or just outside the Park continuously since 1977 has been key to my development as an artist. After a few summers working for the National Park Service, I was hired to be the photographer in residence at The Ansel Adams Gallery. I was able to get to know Ansel and attend his workshop summer sessions; meet other world-class photographers such as Ernst Haas, Paul Caponigro, Joel Meyerowitz and Jerry Ulesmann plus Ansel’s stellar assistants John Sexton, Alan Ross, Ted Orland and Don Worth. I started teaching photography to park visitors, taking them for daily “camera walks” in the meadow near the gallery. I learned to make my own color prints, ironically, in Ansel’s Black and White darkroom. I listened and learned and explored.

As my career developed over the past 40 years, through many ups and downs financially and creatively, I slowly found a few key themes. (See: Thinking in Themes essay) Naturally, one of those themes was Yosemite. Through my connection to Ansel’s sphere of influence, I was inspired to discover new ways of seeing this grand landscape. I hiked and camped and climbed on my weekends, always with a camera. In 1994, a book of my Yosemite photographs was published entitled Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness.


Along this road, a new theme emerged that focused on intimate landscapes, isolations of the broad view. Rather than try to describe everything in front of me, I searched for simple design and magic light that moved me, and the viewer, beyond a literal description. “Landscapes of the Spirit” became the central theme in my landscape photography, and the theme took form in a major monograph book (in 1997) of my best photography to that date.

My new book begins with a large portfolio of my Landscapes of the Spirit series. It includes key images made with my 4×5 film camera, but also very recent digital captures. There are also chapters featuring my Antarctic work, Black and White images, impressionistic photographs each reflecting creative tangents I’ve taken.


Another chapter includes a portfolio entitled By Nature’s Design. From the very beginning of my photography, portraying nature’s patterns was a main subject for me. The theme took full form in 1993 when I illustrated a science book entitled By Nature’s Design. I was assigned to photograph dozens of specific subjects to artistically and clearly show branching, cracking, and spiral patterns to illustrate the science behind them. A large portfolio of the book’s images appeared in the October 1993 issue of Life Magazine.

The lesson of working with concepts to bring deeper meaning to my portfolios led to new themes. The Black and White images emerged from a long-standing love of the images by Edward and Brett Weston, Paul Caponigro, Minor White, and Wynn Bullock. Seeing the paintings of Monet and other Impressionists inspired my Impressions of Light collection of photographs using the technique of intentional camera motion to create painterly images.


One never quite knows where the road of life leads us. With a great sense of wonder, a passion for making photographs, and a desire to celebrate nature’s beauty, I’ve stayed focused on the task at hand, the goal in mind, moving forward one step at a time. Now, I can stop for a moment, look back at the path I’ve traveled, as seen in the pages of this book, and breathe a deep breath of satisfaction. Now looking forward, head down again and back to work. The long and winding road continues before me.


The book includes a full index of each image, showing the camera and lens used.


For more information and to purchase, visit Triplekite’s website.


As my conversations with Triplekite’s David Breen and Dav Thomas developed, I shared my book publishing history with them as well as the portfolios on my web page. To my surprise, they suggested a retrospective. It was a daunting prospect, but who was I to say no? Here is a brief Q&A with the publishers:

From the Publisher

What is your philosophy as a book publisher specializing in landscape photography?

“Our philosophy has always been to make the books that we would want to buy – which is also why we started; we simply couldn’t find many publishers making photography books of the natural world in any great quantity. We knew some great artists who couldn’t get a traditional book deal and self-publishing was pretty much a dark art, so we decided to make a stand against the traditional publishing world and prove it could be done in a newer, fresh and more personal way. Of course, things have changed radically in the five years since we started, but our philosophy stays the same – make great books, by great people, and they will sell. We have always been passionate about the product, its design as well as the content within it. We always strive to make a book which best represents the work within, that on occasion has meant books the size of an A2 sheet when opened out, or with quad foldouts over a metre wide. We still strive for these ideals as well as showcasing the best work, whether that’s from an established name or a relative newcomer, some of our greatest pleasure is derived from publishing someone for their first book.”

Why William Neill, and why a retrospective?

“William is, of course, a household name when it comes to Landscape photography, so maybe the question is ‘why wouldn’t we?’ Within our philosophy it is easy to see who we could and should be publishing, and it is often more difficult to see a way of making it viable – a relatively unknown artist will take a lot of marketing if we are to reach beyond break even and often we don’t. More established names are easier to make commercial decisions with but often are already tied into established publishing houses and contracts. When we approached Hans Strand about doing his “Iceland” book, we found a perfect mix of great work, great desire and a willingness to take a chance on a lesser-known publisher in ourselves. William was sent this book by Hans and really liked what it stood for, so he approached us about doing a book together. I remember looking through everything he’d already achieved and once over the awe of it all, thinking he’s never done a complete collection. I guess the idea came from there, and we have worked for a couple of years trying to capture the essence of a career which is beyond measure in its achievements and outputs.”

How did you learn about his photography?

“Personally, I originally knew more European photographers than Americans (apologies), but in my research, I have looked at all the great landscape artists throughout the world. Williams name comes up time and time again in my investigations. Doing polls of our book buyers, and his name comes up, he’s very much respected and followed across the globe and our pre-orders show that.”


Can you give us some insight into the design process?

“The design process starts with an evaluation of the images that will form the content of the book, followed by a rough idea of how to sequence the images. In this case, William already had a rough idea of sections for the book which covered both individual styles as well as locations. The physical format of the book is often guided by the proportions of the images it is to showcase – early on in the design process we decided that a square format would work best in this instance. 

Covers were designed early on including the limited edition options and this was followed by the layout including type choice and image spacing. 

After a number of draft versions, with slight alterations to the sections and image selection, we end up with a final version ready for artwork


For more information and to purchase, visit Triplekite’s website.

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