A born experimenter Bill Westheimer was raised in Cincinnati and began playing with photographic processes at age 14. He was introduced to the magic of the darkroom in the mid 1960’s and has never looked back at the conventional, average, normal, and routine approaches to image making.
Beginning with a darkroom in a 3rd floor bathroom, Bill mastered developing and printing black and white photographs in his teens. He experimented with making 3-D holograms before he could drive. Bill also explored high contrast image making, solarization, and other alternative processes in those early years.
While still in high school Bill and 3 partners operated a lightshow business that accompanied nationally known rock and roll bands. Their FlavorScope lightshow company became the house lightshow at Cincinnati’s premier concert hall – the Ludlow Garage – and worked with bands such as The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, BB King, The MC5, Vanilla Fudge, Bitter Blood Street Theater, and many other marquee name bands of the era. The lightshow tapped into Bill’s love of alternative processes and experimental image making. He created abstract slide shows, hand drawn 16mm film loops, and other experimental background lighting image making techniques.
At Union College Bill studied philosophy and art. He studied with noted painter and educator Arnold Bittelman. Westheimer also studied scientific photography techniques while at Union. He continued with his experiments in photography while completing college.
Later Westheimer studied with Jerry Burchfield who introduced him to color photograMs and Cibachrome (now Ilfochrome) printing. Bill went on to teach Cibachrome printing at Colorado Mountain College in Aspen. Early in this millennium he learned the 19th century technique of collodion glass plate photography from the leading experts in the field: France Scully and Mark Osterman.
Bill lives and works in West Orange, New Jersey in a converted 1885 carriage house that includes a modern darkroom and digital printing studio.
Recent work includes photograms made on collodion glass plates, Ilfochrome and gelatin silver media. He collaborated on a camera obscura project with Charles Schwartz documenting the city of New York, and has recently published several books: Momento, Oddyssey – The Billiad and Manual – The Personalities of Hands. His works are exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide.