William Fields – Biography

Born in a small central Connecticut industrial city, William moved to a more rural environment at age 12. The town of Berlin had dairy farms, orchards and truck farms when his family moved there in 1960.

William was precocious in the arts from an early age. At around age 8 he got his first camera. It was a Kodak Brownie box camera with a plastic lens, but he loved it. He was only able to afford to process black and white film. Those early experiences surely imprinted him with a love of monochromatic photography.

By the time William was old enough to go to college the Vietnam Conflict was in full swing. He enlisted in the navy. During his service he made a Mediterranean Cruise including operations in the vicinity of Israel during the 1966 war; attended Anti-Submarine Warfare School in Memphis, Tennessee; and was assigned to a carrier borne flying squadron as a plane captain on the USS Hornet in the Western Pacific. While serving, He bought his first 35mm camera, a Canon rangefinder. The difference in what he was able to capture with the Canon was night and day by comparison with the fuzzy black and white images he had been shooting with the Brownie.

After his naval service, he eventually began taking college courses and was the first member of his family to graduate from a university.

He worked in the aerospace industry, ultimately sitting for the exam and becoming a certified engineer. Throughout this time William continued to study art and became ever more proficient in draftsmanship, printmaking, watercolor painting and of course, photography. He began using Minolta SLRs. After a trip to the Himalayas in 1988-89, people began asking if his photos were for sale. That was the first time he recognized photography as a serious medium. Until then, he had always considered it as an adjunct to the other artwork. He thought of himself as a painter and a print maker. Before long he upgraded to Nikon equipment, shooting a variety of film including his earliest explorations with Infrared (IR).

“When I sold a couple of pictures to Steven Spielberg, I began to call myself a professional art photographer.”

Due to his work, William has lived in eleven States, settling in Missouri in 1993. He was a self-employed management consultant for a number of years, with General Motors, Boeing and many others among his clients. Throughout his years of “bread winning” he continued to study, practice and execute works of art. His devotion to art has been a lifelong pursuit and passion.

Today, William is a full-time artist who shoots primarily with two Fujifilm X series cameras, one of which is an infrared conversion.

William was chosen by the National Parks Arts Foundation as Artist-in-Residence at Fort Union National Monument in New Mexico in 2019.