“When I sold a couple of pictures to Steven Spielberg for set decorations, I finally began to believe that I was a professional art photographer.”
A man asked me what inspires me. I told him, if I could articulate it, I wouldn’t have to make the pictures.
In fact, I do have to make the pictures. And, when I do, I’m driven by decay, beauty, contrast, humor, unity, love, hate, sorrow, joy, and a whole lot of other things that are banging around in my head while the world streams in through my eyes. I am in love with all of life! Everywhere I go, I see potential pictures. Some are reminiscent of what I’ve learned in the history of art in general and photography in particular. Some are fresh, new ideas that thrill me to the marrow! My saddest moments happen when I’m on my way to an appointment and I can’t stop to create. Well I could, but there are real obligations in life that must be honored. How many incredibly beautiful moments have I passed up? Countless. The rest of the time, when obligations are at bay, I get to fill an enormous well within me by making art.
I make pictures using a camera (primarily) that speak to those special places in my soul that I believe I share with the rest of humanity. I strive to create images that sing of painting and drawing. I want my pictures to look the way the jazz of Thelonious Monk sounds; or like Beethoven’s Piano Concerto, No. 5 in E♭ major, Op. 73! That’s what I want!!!! Do I get there? Sometimes I get close, but I always try.
I search for elegant light. That might mean the deep shadows sculpting the walls of a canyon; the layers of value in a forest caused by the morning mist; the chaotic sense of place in the smoke and flames of a burning field or the way light coming through a window expresses drama on a face. For me, light is everything. Where it comes from. How it falls on or is reflected by objects. What the result is in terms of what we see and what is hidden in shadows. Ultimately, it is always about the light and what it does to the visible world.
Why do I make pictures? Because I have to. It is my passion.
Publications: The Four Directions – A Southwestern Journey and Hermann, Missouri – One of the Prettiest Towns in America. There are three other coffee table photo book projects that are currently in the proposal stage.
Click here to read more about William Fields.