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About the Artist

William Ames Member - Professional Photographers of America

William Ames has taken more than a million photographs during his career and is the leading photographer of the Penn State Campus. His work has been published in a variety of media, including books, video, television, magazines, posters and thousands of fine art prints.

Mr. Ames lives and works in State College, Pennsylvania, and has a bachelor's degree in English from the Pennsylvania State University. His Studio One portrait studio is located in the heart of downtown in the Calder II Building. In his spare time, hiking, travel and photography create an enjoyable mix of memories and images in lasting photos.

A small town at the very center of Pennsylvania, State College owes most of its culture to Penn State University, for which it derives its name, and Mr. Ames is a Life Member of the Penn State Alumni Association.

Over the past 20 years, Mr. Ames has specialized in landscapes, architecture, photojournalism, commercial photography, portraits and weddings. Combining this experience elevates each image.

What is photojournalism?

"In a nutshell, it's telling a story through photos, but it's much more than that!"

"A traditionalist is often thought of as a 'studio photographer', because they setup shots, pose subjects in front of a tripod, and make the scene their own. While there's sometimes a mix of that, a photojournalist would prefer to see the beauty in things as they are, and document the reality. Put another way, photojournalism is to traditional photography as journalism is to fiction."

"There's an old saying, that the camera doesn't lie...In my experience, it does."

Mr. Ames describes the differences:

"My philosophy is simple. When you look at something, you can only focus on one tiny area at a time. When you look at a person, you're only really looking at their eyes. The rest of the face is filled in by your "mind's eye", much like our peripheral vision is filled in for us, or when we visualize whole scenes in our dreams."

"It's true that at any given time, you're really only seeing a small fraction of the scene in front of you, but with the added dimension of time, it gives us the illusion of a lot more detail, and the rest is our mind's interpretation of that scene. Usually, it's optimized. A lens, on the other hand,  can focus on an entire scene, all at once, and a print can show all of that detail all at once...with all of the flaws, stopped in time. When we look at a print, there's no motion, so we have time to look at every little imperfection. This is why post-processing is so important, so that a portrait looks the way you really look, not as a collection of imperfections."

For more than 15 years, Mr. Ames has photographed the Penn State Campus, capturing the essence of the university, but that isn't the extent of his work. With some of the best hiking and scenery in the state, there are many opportunities to create lasting images from nature. The Mid State Trail, a favorite subject, is close to State College, and the many hours Mr. Ames spends roaming the hills for photographs is time captured for all to enjoy. In addition to the Happy Valley, Mr. Ames regularly visits and photographs historical sites, such as Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, offering reflective studies.

As a wedding photographer, Mr. Ames has photographed dozens of couple at numerous locations throughout Centre County and the Penn State campus. "Weddings combine a lot of different styles and genres. You have traditional portraits, but there are also landscapes, architecture, and fast-paced action that capture the day. I bring experience in all of those areas."

Mr. Ames' print photography is available for stock sales and commercial use. Commercial clients include Ann Beha Architects, Adidas Wrestling, Adobe Corporation, Applebee's, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Nittany Bank, Grateful Dead Productions, Hershey Medical Center, Centre Medical and Surgical Associates, FHL Bank of Pittsburgh, Bank of America, Sorinex, SMS Meer and many more. For more information on professional services, click here.


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