64 Parishes

William Greiner

Since 1980, Louisiana photographer William Greiner has exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions at galleries and museums around the world.

William Greiner

Courtesy of Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Blue Heart, Houma LA. Greiner, William (Photographer)

Since 1980, William Kross Greiner has exhibited his color photographs in dozens of solo and group exhibitions at galleries and museums around the world. These exhibitions in the early years of his career came at a time when such institutions had only begun to accept color photography as legitimate artistic expression. Greiner began his career in professional photography in 1977 when he was hired by the National Football League (NFL) to document its season, but his focus and career aspirations shifted from photographing sporting events to making pictures of the everyday world around him. Greiner’s photographs are not limited to Louisiana subjects, though some of his series, including The Reposed (photographs made in South Louisiana cemeteries) and Baton Rouge Blues (reflections of the state’s capital city, where Greiner relocated following Hurricane Katrina), along with certain pictures from Homefront (domestic settings) and Perilous Pilgrimage (children), depict Louisiana subjects.

Greiner was born in New Orleans on September 8, 1957, and began using his first camera when he was twelve. His advanced education took the form of a degree in liberal studies from Bradford College in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1980. Along with work for the NFL, in 1981 and 1982, Greiner covered the Tour de France for Bicycling magazine, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, receiving in the latter year a BFA in photography from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. An MBA in finance from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1985 completed his education.

Greiner counts among his influences William Eggleston, the pioneering color photographer from Memphis, Tennessee, whom he met while in college, along with Clarence John Laughlin of New Orleans, and Bill Owens of Hayward, California.

Both The Reposed (1999) and Baton Rouge Blues (2007) were published as books. Exhibition catalogues and other publications featuring his photographs include Visualizing the Blues (2001), A New Life: Stories and Photographs from the Suburban South (1997), and The South by Its Photographers (1996). Greiner’s work has appeared in such magazines as Double Take, Louisiana Cultural Vistas, The Oxford American, and Photo Metro.

Greiner’s exhibition record includes more than 100 group and solo shows ranging from the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon, to the New Orleans Museum of Art, and from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Greiner’s prints are part of the permanent collections of nearly seventy museums and public collections worldwide including the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.; the Hasselbad Center in Gothenburg, Sweden; and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. In Louisiana, his work is in the collections of The Historic New Orleans Collection, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, and the Louisiana Art and Science Museum in Baton Rouge. In 2004, Greiner received a fellowship from the Louisiana Endowment for the Arts.

When asked to summarize his work, Greiner said, “I work intuitively. I work on issues and themes that seem to be relevant in my life at a certain moment, and try to translate that into the subjective process of going out in to the world and choosing what is included and what is excluded in the picture. I want to try and condense it down to the relevant stuff. The other interesting thing to me about photography and this process, is how the subject takes on a life of its own—there is some kind of energy revealed.”