Short Bio

The Short Bill Owens Biography



Bill Owens was born in San Josè, California in 1938. In 1964, after the graduation in “Industrial Arts”, he has been travelling for two years between India and Jamaica. Here he becomes keen on anthropological and social photography. From 1967 he starts collaborating with various newspapers of the “Bay Area”.

During these years he his witness of a social phenomenon of a huge importance: the immigration waves to the cost of the “fabulous west”. The first photographical project comes out: Altamont, dedicated to the cultural sequences of California of the ’68. The big project Suburbia follows, published by Straight Arrow Books of New York in 1973.

The book was an incredible success: more then 50.000 copies were sold, with three reprints distributed all over the world . On the success wave obtained with Suburbia, Owens publishes in 1975 Our Kind of People dedicated to the different social organizations: political, religious, sports, scholastic groups and their rituals. In the 1977, the photos collection Working (I do it for money), a social and ironic picture, but at the same time crude about the people who works “from 9 to five”. In 1976, obtains the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and , afterwards, two scholarship of the National Endowment for the arts.

From the 1978 to the 1982 he works as a free lance photographer, with reports published on “Life” and “News Week”. In the first Eighties lives the professional photography for becoming beer producer. ”Buffalo Bill’s Brewery” and , three years later, founds the magazine “American Brewer Magazine”.

In the 1999 starts again to dedicate himself full time to the photography. The project he finished nowadays to work to, Leisure: Americans at Play, begun in the seventies too, is on the contrary dedicated to the relationship between the Americans and sport and in particular to “special” events as the “Indianapolis 500 miles”, mammoth truck races, wrestling matches and so on. In the 2003 he begins a lonely journey by car towards the United States. From this experience, the most recent cycle of works comes up A photographer journey: 115 days across America.

From 1996 till today Bill Owens’ work was shown at the San Francisco Museum of modern Art , the San Josè Museum of Art, the Saloon of Photo in Paris, the Centre Photographic de l’Ile de France and at the Robert Koch Gallery on San Francisco, Greg Kucera in Seattle. Bill Owens is currently represented by James Cohan Gallery, New York, NY.

Museums and galleries in San Francisco, New York, and Paris have shown my photography. Photographs have also been purchased by museums and private collectors. See below a complete listing: