William Guion has photographed the Louisiana landscape and live oaks for more than 30 years. His large format black-and-white and hand-colored images portray the oaks elegantly, revealing the majestic and mystical qualities of this icon of the Deep South. Not since the landscape paintings by early 20th century Louisiana artists A.J. Drysdale and William Henry Buck has a Southern artist focused on a long-term study of the Southern live oak.

He was introduced to photography as part of his journalistic studies in college. His early photographic training occurred through participation as student and assistant in various photography workshops through the Friends of Photography in Carmel, CA between 1985 and 1995. His early work was influenced by the Group f-64 (Edward Weston, Ansel Adams) “straight” approach to black-and-white photography. Following one of his instructor’s advice to “find something you love and photograph it again and again,” he began his series of live oak "portraits" on his native Louisiana soil that continues today.

In 2000, after his father’s death, he moved to California to reconnect with his early photographic inspirations and began a series of images of oak woodlands through the Central Coast where he began to explore the use of hand-colored images. After Hurricane Katrina, Guion returned to the South to continue his work with historic live oaks in an effort to document the oldest surviving oaks while they still survive (100 Oaks Project blog).

His writings and photographs about oaks have appeared in numerous publications like American Forests magazine, Louisiana Life, Country Roads magazine, the Journal of the International Oak Society, the Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate magazine, Cultural Vistas (publication of the Louisiana Endowment of the Humanities), Under the Oaks magazine (the alumni publication of Newcomb College of Arts), the Calumet Fine-Art newsletter, View Camera magazine, Creation Spirituality magazine, and books like Live Oak Lore by Ethelyn Orso, Spiritual Literacy by Frederick and Mary Ann Brussat, and Folklife in Louisiana through Photography by Frank DeCaro.

His images have also been used on several book jacket designs for publishers Scribner/Simon & Schuster, Crown Books, Random House, Harper Collins, and Bulfinch/Little, Brown & Co., and were featured in the 1999 Alfre Woodard film “The Wishing Tree.” Guion’s photographs are contained in a variety of corporate and private collections across the country as well as the public collections of the Louisiana Folk life Museum, the Louisiana State Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art. In 2016 he was awarded a $25,000 grant through the Louisiana Tourism Investment Program to create a self-guided tour of historic live oaks in Lafourche Parish (www.liveoaktour.com). Currently he is creating a gift book for Laura Plantation on Louisiana's historic River Road, and working on another book project on historic live oak alleys along River Road. 

Biography

William Guion has photographed the Louisiana landscape and live oaks for more than 30 years. His large format black-and-white and hand-colored images portray the oaks elegantly, revealing the majestic and mystical qualities of this icon of the Deep South. Not since the landscape paintings by early 20th century Louisiana artists A.J. Drysdale and William Henry Buck has a Southern artist focused on a long-term study of the Southern live oak.

He was introduced to photography as part of his journalistic studies in college. His early photographic training occurred through participation as student and assistant in various photography workshops through the Friends of Photography in Carmel, CA between 1985 and 1995. His early work was influenced by the Group f-64 (Edward Weston, Ansel Adams) “straight” approach to black-and-white photography. Following one of his instructor’s advice to “find something you love and photograph it again and again,” he began his series of live oak "portraits" on his native Louisiana soil that continues today.

In 2000, after his father’s death, he moved to California to reconnect with his early photographic inspirations and began a series of images of oak woodlands through the Central Coast where he began to explore the use of hand-colored images. After Hurricane Katrina, Guion returned to the South to continue his work with historic live oaks in an effort to document the oldest surviving oaks while they still survive (100 Oaks Project blog).

His writings and photographs about oaks have appeared in numerous publications like American Forests magazine, Louisiana Life, Country Roads magazine, the Journal of the International Oak Society, the Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate magazine, Cultural Vistas (publication of the Louisiana Endowment of the Humanities), Under the Oaks magazine (the alumni publication of Newcomb College of Arts), the Calumet Fine-Art newsletter, View Camera magazine, Creation Spirituality magazine, and books like Live Oak Lore by Ethelyn Orso, Spiritual Literacy by Frederick and Mary Ann Brussat, and Folklife in Louisiana through Photography by Frank DeCaro.

His images have also been used on several book jacket designs for publishers Scribner/Simon & Schuster, Crown Books, Random House, Harper Collins, and Bulfinch/Little, Brown & Co., and were featured in the 1999 Alfre Woodard film “The Wishing Tree.” Guion’s photographs are contained in a variety of corporate and private collections across the country as well as the public collections of the Louisiana Folk life Museum, the Louisiana State Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art. In 2016 he was awarded a $25,000 grant through the Louisiana Tourism Investment Program to create a self-guided tour of historic live oaks in Lafourche Parish (www.liveoaktour.com). Currently he is creating a gift book for Laura Plantation on Louisiana's historic River Road, and working on another book project on historic live oak alleys along River Road.