Bill Owens

1938 · United States

Artist biography

Bill Owens is an American photographer known for his shots of suburban and domestic scenes captured in East Bay and published in the book Suburbia in 1973. Owen’s work is a unique photojournalistic documentation of the massive housing development over the decades following World War II. Born on September 25, 1938, in San José, California, he studied visual anthropology at San Francisco State College before stopping his studies to travel around the world and finished his education at the Chico State College. Bill Owen’s career started as a staff photographer for locals newspapers in Livermore. Strongly influenced by the Americans new way of life leading brand-new appropriation of the urban space, Owen released the series of these shots in the book Suburbia. The influence of the series taken in Livermore had immense influence during this time particularly in respect to the pioneering portraiture that shows the middle-class, “This book is about my friends and the world I live in. In the fall of 1968, I began working as a photographer for the Livermore Independent. My daily routine took me into the homes of hundreds of families and contact with the social life of three communities”. For the rich photographic heritage provided, Bill Owen was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts Grants. His photographs have been exhibited internationally and are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Berkeley Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art among others.

Bill Owens

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