Bill Jay began his career in England where he was the first Director of Photography
at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the first editor/director of Creative Camera
and Album magazines. During this time, he earned a living as picture editor of a large
circulation news/feature magazine and as the European manager of an international
After studying with Beaumont Newhall and Van Deren Coke at the University of New
Mexico, he founded the program of Photographic Studies at Arizona State University
where he taught history and criticism classes for 25 years.
Bill Jay has published over 400 articles and is the author of more than 15 books on the
history and criticism of photography. Some of his recent titles include: Cyanide and
Spirits: an inside-out view of early photography; Occam’s Razor: an outside-in view of
contemporary photography; USA Photography Guide; Bernard Shaw: On Photography;
Negative/Positive: a philosophy of photography; 61 Pimlico; Sun in the Blood of the
Cat, etc. He is frequently asked to contribute essays to monographs by well-known
photographers, such as Jerry Uelsmann, Bill Brandt, Michael Kenna and Bruce Barnbaum.
He continues to write a regular column for the journal, LensWork.
Bill Jay is a frequent guest lecturer at symposia and conferences and at colleges and
universities in Britain and Europe as well as throughout the USA.
His own photographs have been widely published and exhibited, including a one-person
show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His previous monograph, Photog-
raphers Photographed, included a selection of the thousands of portraits he has taken
of prominent individuals in the medium of photography, a database of which is located
at the Center of Creative Photography, which also houses his research archives.
I am grateful to James Hajicek for his cooperation in the production of the text,
and to David Hurn for his companionship on so many picture expeditions, for the
thousands of hours of conversation about all aspects of photography during the
more than 35 years of our friendship, and for his help in the final editing of the
A very special thank you to Brooks Jensen, editor of LensWork, for preparing
the CD version of this project. His skill and acumen are sources of wonder and
Frederick Lee Heinz, a graphic designer/consultant,contributed his
considerable expertise in the production of this book. Thanks, Bud!
Most of all, I am grateful to all the amateur photographers whom I met during this
project. Their enthusiasm, generosity and good humor made me feel that there
is indeed an international community of photographers still doing something just
for the love of it, without concern for art or fame. I am happy to be numbered