Photographer Spotlight: William Gentle, Known As “Backyard Bill”

All one need do to brush-up on the current state of the young and hip is click through William Gentle's photography blog, "Backyard Bill."  A combination of street style and posed images, Backyard Bill might be thought of as a study in "It," profiling boys and girls whose enigmatic cool factor can't be reduced to the breadth of their wardrobes.

"There has to be something special with the person, something that catches my imagination," explains Gentle, who started the blog three years ago as an outlet in which to "work out all the kinks and find my own voice in my own time. I called it 'Backyard Bill' since at the time I lived in this place in Williamsburg with a big backyard."

Like The Selby or The Coveteur, Backyard Bill contains a whiff of the curious voyeur. "I'm always looking at people and thinking about where they're from and what their lives are like," says Gentle, who prefers to photograph his subjects in their homes and neighborhoods. "It should feel easygoing and real," he continues. "Sometimes I work on sets, but mostly I prefer actual surroundings. It's more interesting, for me, to see how people interact like that."

Interestingly, Gentle has experience both behind and in-front of the camera. After being scouted by a modeling agency in 2000, Bill relocated from his native London for the poetic purpose of pursing "love, and love for photography." "I love New York," Bill explains. "It's my kind of place, I see inspiration everywhere, there always something interesting around the corner, a dilapidated building, an old gate, worn out colors. It's the beauty of New York, that things just get left there to rot. It gives it that special kind of magic."

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