"I try to have a conversation with the client beforehand and I ask them, 'What do you want the audience to think when they see these pictures?' "
snapshotsInsights from Bill Gallery
First photography job
Out of film school, I worked for one director as a cameraman on an industrial film for General Electric. His next project was to direct a slide show for Polaroid, and he asked me to work as a still photographer on that job. So I shot that, but I didn’t even have a camera bag--just a couple of Nikkormats. After the shoot, everybody was really ecstatic because I shot it the way I would shoot a film: close-ups, long shots, reverses, wide-angles, establishing shots, etc. You see, still photographers back then didn’t normally shoot slide shows that way, so all of a sudden I became the busiest slide show photographer in the country.
Under contract for Polaroid
What happened was, Polaroid just latched on to me. They hired me primarily to document their worldwide operations and their products. They sent me all over the world to shoot people using Polaroid products. I was in operating rooms in Copenhagen, on water-skis on the Amazon, the Pasadena Space Laboratory, the royal family of Saudi Arabia, just all over the place. I had five years of incredible world experiences courtesy of Polaroid. It was wild. It was crazy. It was wonderful.
Bill Gallery Now You See Him, Now You Don't
Bill Gallery would be the first to tell you that his photographic style isn’t for everybody, but, then again, champagne isn’t for everybody either. Bill is a master, make that the master, of the documentary, photo-journalistic approach. It is a style that has compelled him ever since his undergraduate days at NYU film school when his editing teacher was an aspiring young film-maker named Marty Scorsese. Bill’s approach to a shoot is to be as unobtrusive as possible, the proverbial “fly-on-the wall,” and that means no lighting set-up—not even a flash--whatsoever. He likens himself to a skilled laborer who comes in to your office, does his job, and leaves quietly. Yet, whether the shoot is in a laboratory, factory, or a CEO’s inner sanctum, the result is some of the most remarkable, most natural photographs that have ever graced a frame or a corporate report. His first ten years in the business were spent traveling around the world shooting documentary photographs for Polaroid. Since then his clients have included Apple Computer, MasterCard, IBM, and, most recently, a global shoot for Lehman Brothers. In many ways, Bill Gallery is a fortunate man, as he is quick to note: “I am a photographer. It just turns out that I am one of the lucky ones. I am doing what I love, and I am making a living doing what I love.”