Local artist profile: Bill Conroy

November 12, 2023 BY

Super chill!: Bill Conroy said he’s come across many extraordinary, and sometimes challenging photographic opportunities during his various overseas sojourns. Photo: SUPPLIED

THIS week we chat with highly accomplished local photographer Bill Conroy, who’s been there and done that across the worlds of editorial and commercial photography, in Australia and across the globe.


What initially motivated you to become a photographer?

My mother was a keen photographer, and was a great influence. From an early age, I had access to film cameras with a few different lenses that I could experiment with. I was into motocross as a teenager and always took a camera along. It was my first foray into the commercial possibilities of my interest in photography – I documented races and individual riders, then sold images to help fund my racing. From then on I’ve always had a camera with me. I’ve always loved photography as a medium, and I’m fortunate my passion became my career.


How would you describe your style and how did you develop it?

My own style is typically a photojournalism approach, knowing how best to convey a story through images, capturing a strong visual moment. My experience in the magazine and newspaper industry, specialising in both editorial and commercial photography, has allowed me to develop my own approach and tailor my style to suit the needs of clients. When creating images for my own practice, I find I operate instinctively within this same style, although more flexibly.


Which other artists inspire you?

I’ve always been inspired by the photojournalism greats, including Henri Cartier-Bresson – the influential French photographer said to have helped pioneer the street photography genre, and Robert Capa – the famous Hungarian-American war photographer and photojournalist. Working in team environments has also allowed me to connect with some wonderful people who have inspired me, and this continues to be the case. The environment I’m in, and the people I’m with influence and inspire me to create my images.


What are some highlights you have from your career so far?

I’ve worked nationally and internationally for many clients including Reuters, Condé Nast, Siemens, Qantas and the Royal Geographical Society. I was based overseas for a number of years which led to many extraordinary, and sometimes challenging photographic opportunities, documenting presidents, actors and singers, heads of state and more. I’ve also loved capturing relevant, contemporary images for significant community and sporting events, festivals, performances and public events. I really enjoy that connection to (the) community that comes from my work.


How can people check out your work?

I’ve been working professionally for more than 25 years as a photographer, and many of my images are in the public domain, available through newspapers, magazines and online. My website Press1Photography – press1.com.au – holds a cross-section of my work as well. In addition to my commercial work, I have my own archive, and a number of photographs in private collections.


What would you say to young regional aspiring artists who are thinking of making a go of the creative life?

I’d suggest that if you’re interested in photography, the starting point would be to invest in a good manual camera and learn about composition. Look at the work of other artists, visit exhibitions, and research all you can. You might benefit from a photography course, but I’ve found I’ve learnt the most through experimenting with what might be possible, and practising – taking photos every day. Many creatives have to find a balance between the commercial and the personal aspects of their practice, and that can be a challenge, but I’ve found for me, having persevered, it’s come together well.