WILLIAM CLIFT: Photographs + Books

Charis, Bandelier, N.M., 1974
Photograph Copyright (c) William Clift

"Intuition precedes everything. When I look back at my first photographs taken around 12 years old, I'm surprised certain things are there so early in one's life. You have no idea where the hell it comes from."

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WILLIAM CLIFT is recognized for his exquisite New Mexico landscapes, of Mont Saint-Michel, France, for documentation of our nation’s courthouses, the New York State Capitol in Albany, and the Hudson River Valley. Past publications include Certain Places (1987), A Hudson Landscape (1993) and A Particular World (2008). He grew up on Boston's Beacon Hill and now lives with his family in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

As early as 10 years old, Clift was already working in his own darkroom from images he'd taken with his Brownie camera. He saved his money summer after summer caddying until he'd saved enough to purchase a Poloroid camera in 1956. As film was expensive, he was very careful to take only a very few images. Not taking quantities of pictures has seemingly become a habit that's lasted throughout his career.

At 12, he photographed the luminous image Barbara's Table, Boston, Mass., 1956 (the frontispiece of his book Certain Places) with his Poloroid. At 15, he took his first photography workshop with Paul Caponigro. He became the youngest member of the Association of Heliographers (named after the 1929 sun-imagery process) founded by Walter Chappell, along with Caponigro, Marie Cosindas, and a few other established photographers.

WILLIAM CLIFT's latest book, A Particular World, may be one of the most exceptional photography books of this decade. An assembly of 25 color photographs by William Clift taken with a Poloroid Spectra camera of his family and home.

Designed by Eleanor Caponigro. Pearmain Press, 2008
Available at Photo-Eye Books

William Clift Website

1 comment:

John said...

I had occasion to visit Mr. Clift at his studio while attending a workshop in Santa Fe. I agree with your assessment that "A Particular World" is one of the more exceptional photographic books of the decade. But it is Bill's prints that are truly astonishing. They represent a what I fear is becoming a lost art. Although Bill Clift's work is difficult to encounter in the wider world, it has a great impact on all that come across it.

John Langmore