At a glance, it’s easy to dismiss Bill Hughes’ photography as mere journalism. But the longer you look at Bill’s images, the more artistic they become. The composition is unique, the lighting exquisite and there are always small details hidden in plain sight: a bird perched on a ledge, surreal cloud patterns, reflections in the window, etc. His photos remind me of Hemingway’s writing in that a lot’s going on beneath the surface.
If you were photographed by Bill or saw him at work, you’d start to understand how he created these simple, complex images. He was meticulous … in the most polite way possible. He was constantly tweaking the angle and lighting and perspective, snapping hundreds of shots over several minutes or hours, while engaging in a friendly (and, at times, profound) back-and-forth.
I could whine about the fact that Bill and I are not going to be able to have one last powwow on the patio of Sunrise Coffee, the planes buzzing us, the old newsroom just up the street. It’d be nice to reminisce about CityLife and get his perspective on the politics of the day. But instead, I’m going to focus on the time we did spend together—in the underground flood channels, at the Blue Angel Motel, the Diplomat apartments, the central sewage plant and many other unlikely locales—and on the vast, diverse and important portfolio he left behind.
Rest easy mi amigo! Y gracias por todo!