The Art in the heART of the City Visual Arts Exhibit. Not just a fun name to say, it’s the name of the new art exhibit on at City Hall in Edmonton through 18 December. 12 inner-city artists with 40 pieces, the exhibit has paintings, drawings, soapstone carvings, and photographs.
All 4 photographs in the exhibit were taken by William Neis.
One of these photos was taken in Churchill Square in winter. Another shot is from the river valley, of geese going south. The third is a view of the clouds from his apartment window, and the fourth of his roommate Fred (who also happens to be a cat).
William started taking pictures in 2009 when his brother gave him a camera. Since then, he’s used it to take photos all over Edmonton. For William, taking photo is a way to express himself, and a form of self-therapy.
Encouraged by mentors in the community, he’s taken over 30,000 photos within the city. Nevermind the number and the quality of his work, however. As William relates: “I’m not a photographer, I’m a guy who takes pictures.”
Despite this opinion, at the opening of the exhibit, William was approached by a professional photographer of more than 30 years. He told William his photos were some of the nicest he’d seen, and that one in particular was a very difficult shot.
William credits the Inner City Recreation and Wellness Program and the Boyle McCauley Health Clinic for supporting him, and he supports others in the community by sharing his photos.
Although he rarely takes pictures of people, most of William’s photos are of nature and animals. Part of the reason for the focus? It’s so that folks “who can’t get outdoors for themselves can still enjoy,” he says, “the beauty, and see that’s there still good in the world.”
As such, William shares his photos online with people all over the planet. It is also an opportunity for someone in a different place, like Texas, to “see what a jackrabbit looks like in the snow.”
Although you’ll often see him hiking through the river valley with his camera, he never plans to take pictures ahead of time. As he says, “it just happens. Nature presents itself. The next photo is a hop, skip, and stumble over the next bank.”
See William’s photos at the Art in the heART of the City Exhibit on at City Hall, and check out more of his work at Bill Neis Photography.