Friday, April 17, 2009

Spotlight on: Photographer Bill Wood

I felt like I hit the jackpot when I recently discovered Photographer Bill Wood's expansive collection of 1950s and 1960s Americana!!

Wood spent nearly 40 years photographing local businesses, showrooms and product displays in Fort Worth, Texas where he owned and operated the Bill Wood Photo Company. His photographs were not meant to be artistic in composition or style, but Wood's authentic -- borderline deadpan -- portraits predate a style emulated by today's photographers.

After his death in 1973, Wood's family decided to sell the negatives of his work. Wood's collection would have not reached mainstream media had actress, and avid photo collector, Diane Keaton not purchased 20,000 of his negatives. Keaton kept the negatives in storage and would occasionally make contact sheets, each time finding hundreds of images she loved. With the help of freind Marvin Heiferman, Keaton turned the archive into an exhibition and book project.

"Some of us can just never get enough imagery, never enough staring at stills. It's a hunger. It's a real hunger, it's a starvation. You need more and more, there's never enough looking. Ever," Keaton has said of the project.

In May 2008, Keaton and Heiferman curated an exhibition titled "Bill Wood's Business" at the International Center of Photography in New York City. You can find a copy of the book containing Wood's work here.

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