Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Backyard Bill

I spent the first few years of my career as a junior editor sitting on a photo desk at a magazine renowned for its photography. I saw the good, the bad and the ugly pass across our lightbox, and under my loup: the latest batch of reportage from Magnum's greatest, travel stories by Raymond Meier & Ellen von Unwerth, Robin Broadbent's still lives, fashion from the likes of Corrine Day, Mario Testino, & Robert Erdmann (ten years on, I'm still in recovery from dealing with him), Lorenzo Agius & Bailey portraits, David Loftus' food work. You name it, our photo director commissioned it.

I wish fashion & portrait photographer William Gentle had been shooting back then, as opposed to appearing on one of the composite cards that scattered my desk-he was modelling then & I booked models, too. Although he says that his blog Backyard Bill “ features stylish folks in their own clothes", the photographs are beautifully composed portraits in quite a different vein from the great modern street snappers such as The Sartorialist or Tommy Ton.

Using natural light, and a clever juxtaposition of the subjects with their surroundings, the images he captures, as in all good portraiture, show you a way into those subjects' inner lives and are about far, far more than the clothes from their wardrobes.

Here follows a small selection of images but I highly recommend a browse through his site.

Adam Wallace by Bill Gentle 3

Adam Wallace by Bill Gentle

Wesley by Bill Gentle

Ingrid Sophie Schram by Bill Gentle

Pete Sparrow by Bill Gentle