Bill Owens(American, b. September 25, 1938) is a photographer from San Jose, California, known for his objective depiction of post-war suburban life in the San Francisco Bay Area. After serving in the Peace Corps, he took a job as a photojournalist at a local newspaper, where he began anthropologically capturing suburban culture on camera. Owens is best known for his portrayal of the middle-class through black and white photography, and his work was featured in his 1972 book, Suburbia.. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1976, and today, his photographs are part of several collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, Berkeley Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the San Jose Museum of Art.

Timeline

1938
Born 25 September in San Jose, California
1953–1957
San Juan High School. Citrus Heights, California
1960–1961
Nine-month hitchhiking tour of the world
1957–1963
California State University, Chico, California (B.A. Industrial Arts, 1963)
1964–1966
Peace Corps. (Jamaica, West Indies) Hitchhiked in Central America 1964
1966–1967
Entered San Francisco State College to study photography. Photographed student riots. Photo editor S.F. State Daily Gator
1968–1978
Photographer for the Livermore Independent, California. Photographed Hells Angels at Rolling Stones Altamont concert 1969. Obtained $2000 grant from Alfred Heller, publisher of Cry California magazine to work on suburban photographs, 1971
1978–now
Freelance photographer
1982–now
Beer maker and distiller

Exhibitions

2009
Altamont, Suburbia, Leisure, Riots, Galerie Alex Daniels - Reflex Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
2005
PhotoEspana. Madrid, Spain: Bill Owens. June 1-July 17
2004
Carla Sozzani Gallery, Milan. Italy. Bill Owens Photography 1964-2003. December 10, 2004-January, 2005
2004
International Center for Photography, New York, Bill Owens Leisure. December 12, 2004-February 27, 2005
2004
San Jose Museum of Art. It’s About Time: Celebrating 35 Years. October 2, 2004-February 13, 2005
2004
USC Fisher Gallery. University of Southern California, “Game Face-What Does a Female Athlete Look Like?” September 9-November 1, 2004
2004
Yossi Milo Gallery, New York “Pool Party” June 16-August 20, 2004
2004
Photographs Do Not Bend. Nine April 30-June 12, 2004
2004
Reflex Modern Art Gallery Amsterdam, “Beauty of Darkness’ April 24-June 12, 2004.
2004
Whitney Museum of American Art. Inside Out: Portrait photographs from the permanent collection. February 7-May 23, 2004
2004
Photographs Do Not Bend. “ Landscape???” January 30-April 17, 2004
2004
Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art at the Geffen Contemporary. Street Credibility January 25-June 7, 2004
2004
Kennedy Boesky Photographs Marianne Boesky Gallery. Seventies Color Photography William Christenberry, Mark Cohen, John Divola, William Eggleston. Mitch Epstein, Nan Golden. Helen Levitt. Mary Ellen Mark, Joel Meyerwitz, Richard Misrach, Bill Owens, Ed Ruscha. Steven Shore, Joel Sternfeld. January 3-January 31, 2004
2003
CCA Wattis Institute, The Grey Area. Uncertain Images: Bay Area Photography 1970s to Now. December 3, 2003-February 14, 2004.
2003
Atlanta Contempory Art Center. “Terrain Vague: Photography, Architecture and the Post-Industrial Landscape” November 13-2003 January 3, 2004, Carnegie Museum of Art March 20-June 20, 2004
2003
CCA Graduate Gallery “Acquired Taste” November 11-18, 2003
2003
Peabody Essex Museum. “Family Ties” curated by Trevor Fairbrother June 12-Sept. 21, 2003
2003
Centre National de la photographie jeu de paume. “Fables de l’identite-ouvres de la collection NSM Vie/ABN AMRO. June 18-August 25, 2003
2003
Collection Lambert-musee d’art contemporain, Avignon, France. “Photograhier to photograph”
2003
Newark Museum,"Changing America 1945-1975: Master Photographs from the David Sestak Family Collection." May 3 November 30, 2003
2003
Centre national de la photographie,”Fables de l’identite” Oeuvres photographiques et video de la collection NSM Vie ABN AMRO, June 16-August 25, 2003
2003
SpazioFoto Credito Artiano, Florence, Italy. “Bill Owens: The American Way” January 20-February 22, 2003
2002
Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery Bill Owens Suburbia, October 25 November 30, 2002
2002
Greg Kuscera Gallery States of the Union: Before and After September 5-28, 2002
2002
Robert Koch Gallery, Obsession July 13-August 31, 2002
2002
Barbara Gladstone Gallery “American Standard: (Para)Normality and American Standard (Para) Normality in Everyday Life Organized by Gregory Crewdson. June 26-August 16 2002
2002
Whitney Museum of American Art “Visions from America-Photographs from the Whitney Museum of American Art” June 27-Sept 22, 2002
2002
George Krevsky Gallery “Extra Innings-The art of Baseball” April 18 May 18, 2002
2002
The Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, The University of the Arts. Philadelphia PhotoReview@25 March 1-31, 2002
2001
Paul Morris gallery “It’s a wild party and we’re having a great time” December 13, 2001-January 12, 2002
2001
Galerie Gabrielle Maubrie, Paris, France “Faut-il rajouter de la vie aux annees ou des annees s la vie” (“Should we add life unto years or years unto life” November 17-December 23, 2001
2001
Jack Hanley Gallery, Bill Owens Photographs 1967-69 November 15 December 15, 2001
2001
Palazzo Santa Margherita, Modena per la Fotografia 2001 A proposito degli anni settanta: Bill Owens “Suburbia” October 7-January 6, 2002
2001
Museum of Contempory Art, Denver. “Go Fish” September 21, 2000 January 6, 2001.
2001
St Louis Art Museum, Photographs from the 1960s and 1970s from the permenent collection. July 10-September 30, 2001
2001
Smithsonian Institution, ‘Game Face-What Does a Woman Athlete Look Like?” July. 2000
2001
L.A. Galerie Lothar Albrecht, Frankfort, Germany, ‘Places and People’ March 31-May 12, 2001
2001
Oakland Museum of California, Capturing Light: Masterpieces of California Photography 1850-2000, March 3-May 27, 2001
2001
Paul Morris Gallery, Bill Owens Suburbia Color Photographs, January 27-March 10 , 2001
1998
Centre Photographique d’Ile-de-France, Bill Owens
1996
Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, Suburbia Vintage Prints
1995
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Bill Owens Suburban Selections
1994
American Fine Arts, New York, Photographs from Suburbia, Our Kind of People and Working
1983
The Art Museum Association San Francisco, Best of Bill Owens (traveled 1983-85)
1982
University of New Mexico, Bill Owens-traveling exhibition (1982-3)
1981
Biennale of Venezie,Italy, Home=Family?
1980
La Photo galeria, Madrid, Bill Owens
1979
Oregon Gallery, Museum of Art, Eugene, Oregon: Working
1978
Museum of Modern Art , New York, Mirrors and windows: American Photography Since 1960
1977
Showa, Tokyo, Japan, Suburbia
1976
Dalhhousie University Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Bill Owens: Suburbia
1975
Mills College, Western Art Association, Oakland, Ca (traveled for 2 years)
1973
De Young Museum, San Francisco New Bay Area Photographers
1965
Institute of Jamaica, Jamaica , West Indies -Bill Owens Village Life