"Revealing the unique beauty of the rural American landscape, the grace and simplicity of the Amish people, and his own unique brand of humor, Bill Coleman's work should be celebrated as an American treasure."

Bill Coleman 1925 - 2014

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Bill Coleman’s body of work, spanning more than sixty years, has been exhibited at the National Press Gallery in Washington D.C., The Pennsylvania State House, Wolfson College at Oxford University, UK, the B.A.S.F Gallery in Frankfurt Germany, and others. Coleman's work has been celebrated and recognized as the foremost photographic documentation of an Old Order Amish community. In addition, Bill's work of the Amish has been published in three books over the past twenty-five years; Amish Odyssey in 1987, The Gift to be Simple in 2001, and The Gift of Friendship in 2008 and reprinted in 2014.

Born in Connecticut and raised in New York City, Coleman served as an infantryman in WWII and was an American prisoner of war in Nazi Germany. After the war, Bill majored in English and graduated from Penn State University, later attending Rochester Institute of Technology for graduate work.

In 1950, Bill opened his first photographic portrait studio in State College PA. For more than three decades, he crafted and shot his signature portrait sessions with thousands of residents, families, and business leaders. Frequent travels abroad over those decades served his keen interest in capturing images of people living their routine lives in their own habitats. Portuguese fisherman, old-school Italian gentlemen cavorting in their piazzas and redundant Welsh slate miners milling about in their villages provided Bill with endless photographic opportunities. Bill's eye also caught director and actor Robert Redford who asked him to photograph the motion picture, A River Runs Through It.

Bill enjoyed a myriad of subjects and settings spanning time and space but it was the Amish way of life that never ceased to pique his interest. He's left, as his legacy, a stunning decades-long photographic story capturing generation after generation of one particular Amish community thriving only with the tools and philosophy that has guided them since the eighteenth-century. Bill's love of the Amish and of their relationships with each other and of the land nourished his hope that humanity could still thrive unencumbered with the distractions of modern-day life.

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