BILL BIGGARTPhotojournalistic ProfileBy: Melissa Gorneault
Bill Biggart• Born in Berlin in 1947• He was the second oldest from 12children• Irish-Catholic family• He moved to New York in the 1970’sas an adult• He married twice and had 3 kids• 1 kid with his first wife• 2 kids with his second wifePhoto by: UnknownPhoto source: http://www.habluetzel.com/cover_story.htm/
Bill’s Career Path• He began his career in 1967 as a commercialphotographer in New York• In 1973, he went to Wounded Knee to cover the AmericanIndian protest movement• After getting past the FBI boundary he was captured by theoverwhelmed protestor who assumed he was a federal agent.• Although some of his film was confiscated, his “gift for gab” got himreleased.
Bill’s Career Path• In 1985, he immediately closed his studio after receiving hisfirst press card.• He then began shooting black and white images. He “hatedcolor and only came back to it when he grudgingly accepteddigital photography methods.”• Over the years Bill photographed• Racism in New York• The KKK in the South• The Palestinian uprising and refugee camps in Israel• The life of people in Northern Ireland• The fall of the Berlin Wall• And MUCH more
Bill’s Career Path• He was one of the first member of Impact Visuals(1989-until he was killed)• Cooperative photo agency• Devoted to social change & alternative news• He was also a freelance photographer for:• Reuters• Agence France Press• Sipa Press
Bill’s Work• His work appears in…• The City Sun• The Village Voice• Christian Science Monitor• US News and World Report• Time• Newsweek• New York Post• New York Times• New York daily NewsAnd many other worldwide publications.
Bill’s era of photojournalism• Bill Biggart began his career in the late 1960’s andcontinued until he died while photographing the 9/11attack on September 11, 2001.Photography is a competitivefield. “Its one of the few fieldswhere age and collegedegrees arent as important asa good eye, a quality product,and self discipline.”Photo by: UnknownPhoto source: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-16838299/stock-photo-female-blue-eye-looking-through-a-digital-camera-lens.html
What motivated Bill?• As a spot photographer, Bill was known to cover thestories that most interested him not the stories that theeditor selected• “He loved the streets”• “He has a strong interest in minorities”• “Bill loved films he gave his life to it”• “Passion”
Motivation• “Bill’s photos display his independentspirit and his exuberant passion forlife and photography. He was aperson who loved his work and wasworking at what he loved right up tothe end.”-His wife, Wendy Doremus-Photo by: UnknownPhoto source:http://www.heandsheeatclean.com/2012/07/motivational-monday-are-you-your-best.html
Camera & Technology• Bill used digital cameras and film• “He loved the technique from the noise of the shutter tothe processing of the film.”• “He loved the magic of the still camera and always keptone at the foot of the bed.”• “When digital camera arrived he was furious he hated thetechnology.”• “He said it would kill the profession.”
Ethical Dilemma?• While covering the plight ofthe Palestinian people, hewas arrested by Israeli policeand beaten for “being in thewrong place at the wrongtime.”Photo by: UnknownPhoto source: http://www.ada.org/8180.aspx
Bias?• Bill was against biases• “Bill felt compelled to expose theinjustices of racism in America”• This was shown through much ofhis work that covered racism(1977-2000)Photo by: UnknownPhoto source: http://www.lisascottlaw.com/
Berlin: 1989• Everyone in Germanywanted the wall to fall.• You can see a smile onsome of their faces.• I feel that this picturerepresents their first step tofreedom. They are half wayover the wall.• Bill loved black and whitephotography and this wasobvious through many of hisimages.Photo by: Bill BiggartPhoto source: http://www.billbiggart.com/berlin_1.htmlThe Fall of the Wall
New York: 1990• Bill kept it simple in this picture of abike that was almost buried in a snowstorm in NY.• It is easy to see that this was takenduring or soon after the storm finished.The texture of the snow looks fresh.• If the bike was not in the picture itwould not be as easy to see how deepthe snow is.• The pole in the picture is a great useof line to separate the sidewalk fromthe cars in the road.“Still life in snow”Photo by: Bill BiggartPhoto source: http://www.billbiggart.com/nyc_11.html
New York: 1997• The main subject of thisphoto takes up only about¼ of the image.• By the look on his face itseems like he knew thathe was beingphotographed.• The “objects” on the mainsubject represent his sideof the gay pride protest.• Again Bill’s work is shownin a b/w image.Photo by: Bill BiggartPhoto source: http://www.billbiggart.com/nyc_1.htmlGay Pride Parade
Bill’s final photo: September 11, 2001• This picture was taken just before thesecond World Trade Tower collapsedon top of him.• You can easily see that Bill was tryingto get as close to the World TradeTowers as he could.• This photo represents thedetermination that he had to get thebest pictures.• The texture in the image makes mefeel like I am there.• It creates a feeling of truth anddisbelief at the same time.Photo by: Bill BiggartPhoto source: http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0111/biggart_intro.htm“We know in his last picture he wasworking to the very end, and thatstelling of the commitment he had to hiswork.“
Impact: How did the photojournalists images affectsociety?• Bill always got up close an personal in all of his work.• This was evident in his last photo which was taken on 9/11when he got too close and The World Trade Tower collapsedon top of him.• Many people were amazed with how close he was.• If you do a Google search of his images now almost all of theimages are the ones that were captured on his flash card from9/11.• This has especially affected his family and closefriends/photojournalists.
How does my Major at AIC relate to Bill?• Bill had a passion forphotography.• Nursing is also a major thatone must be passionateabout.• Bill had a desire to captureimages to tell a story.• In Nursing you must have adesire to help others.Photo by: UnknownPhoto source: http://www.livewithpassionnow.com/what-is-your-passion/
How was Bill viewed by others?• Many of the people who knew Bill viewed him as a “News Junkie”Photo by: UnknownPhoto source: http://www.movingpictureblog.com/2011/07/confession-of-news-junkie.html
“He never stopped moving until the end.”• “With a press pass aroundhis neck and a camera bagover his shoulder, in themiddle of a cross fire – Billwas in heaven.”-Wendy Doremus, Bills Wife-Photo by: UnknownPhoto source: http://www.billbiggart.com/911.html