The Photography of Bill Davis
by Marianne Wilson Stein
Two years ago it happened. Bill Davis picked up a camera for the first time. Like many artists, he has another life outside of his art. Bill commutes to work via the train every day because parking is at a premium at his work. This turned out to be a blessing. For the first time, Bill opened his eyes to the world and noticed the beauty around him while commuting. It was here that he started seeing what was hidden to him before. When not working, he travels around the city to photograph up to OHSU, the East Esplanade, sunsets out on the west side of town and the industrial area.
Bill was a navy brat, grew up in the south, then joined the navy and traveled the world. Since 2000 he has called Portland home and a beautiful place to live. He told me this is the longest he has ever stayed put.
As we were discussing his life, Bill told me that he works with disabled Veterans and he has heard so many heart wrenching stories. I also asked him about his favorite movies, he loves Johnny Depp films, Lemony Snicket - A Series of Unfortunate Events. He also loves Steampunk themed movies. His experience with the disabled and his sense of style are truly reflected in his art. Bill captures so much brooding emotion in each photo, melodramatic and escapist. I once told Bill that his photos have a lovely haunting quality. He is the master of capturing the juxtaposition of light and shadow.
He sees things in a way that feels heavy like a weight on the soul.
When viewing Bill’s photography you notice that he is capturing a unique perspective – influenced by angles most people don’t think of. He told me that he loves shooting clouds because they are in constant change. He definitely has an eye for the dramatic sky. Sometimes he gets so engrossed in shooting that he doesn’t even notice the details in his photos until he looks at them on his computer.
What does the future hold for Bill behind the lens? To capture the destruction of historic Portland, old buildings and the character of the city. He hates to see Portland change, and like many artists, he is priced out of buying a home. Seeing Portland’s homeless, he would also like to photograph them and call attention to their suffering.
His five-year plan? He is not looking that far out; wherever the camera leads him is where you can find him.
See more of Bill's work online, or stop by Artistic Portland.