Bellingham photographer and videographer Scott Williams, 56, displays his works in "Healing Through Art," an exhibit at St. Joseph hospital. The exhibit also features paintings by Susie Wind, as well as wall plaques with the winners of last year's Sue Boynton Poetry Contest. A public reception is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 7, in the new Grounds and Grains Café near the east towers of the center.
The exhibit was coordinated by Linda Gardner of Lucia Douglas Gallery.
Question: What's your artistic journey?
Answer: I took a photography class in college (I attended Swarthmore College and NYU) because I'd heard it was easy and because my girlfriend was taking it. It's funny how a decision like that can change everything! The camera, the darkroom - I'd never had anything that I could do day after day and wake up wanting to do more, and I still feel the same way.
I went to New York to work in the photography studios there and eventually got a job as a staff photographer for New York City, assigned to (Metropolitan Transportation Authority). It was during that time that I discovered my subject in the tunnels and back streets where I was working.
I started working on short films with my friends and eventually enrolled at NYU film school. I pretty quickly got into the union and hooked up with a lighting crew that was doing movie after movie, everything from smaller New York projects like "Rooftops" and "Crossing Delancey" to big travelling shows like "Barton Fink" and "Air America."
It was a great time. I became a best boy, then a gaffer, and eventually I got my chance as director of photography on the TV series "Northern Exposure."
Since then I've shot and directed TV shows, movies, and commercials, met a lot of great people and seen a lot of great places. I'm the luckiest guy I know.
Q: How did you become involved in the "Healing Through Art" exhibit?
A: I became aware of the "Healing through Art" program while visiting a sick friend. My photographs are colorful and graphic, so it seemed like a perfect place to exhibit some.
I contacted Linda Gardner at the Lucia Douglas Gallery, and we worked out the show. People have a lot on their minds when they're at the hospital; I'm hoping that I can remind them that there's always beauty out there if you can see it.
Q: What brought you to Bellingham?
A: I first came to Washington in 1991 to work on a TV show. I met my wife Lili there and I've never really wanted to live anywhere but the Northwest since.
We moved to Bellingham about 10 years ago because it's close to Vancouver, B.C., (I work there a lot) and an easy commute to Los Angeles. We have four kids, and you couldn't ask for a better place to raise them.
Q: What new projects are on the horizon for you?
A: I've been doing a series called "Psych" for four years now, but this is probably the last season so I'll be looking for a job come fall! I'm also working on a documentary about an amazing school for at-risk teens in Bellingham, the Home Port Learning Center.
I haven't done any docs in quite a while, but Home Port is just a great place and a great story. You can read more about it at: homeportlc.com.
I try to keep shooting stills as much as I can and just this last year I started teaching a class at Western Washington University. It's gratifying to see how much interest there is in visual storytelling and filmmaking generally, it really keeps you on your toes to be around all that creative energy.
Q: What else is in your life?
A: My family is the most important thing to me; the greatest gift has been being part of their lives. Our oldest daughter is going away to college this fall and it's joyful and sad at the same time, like so much of life.
I've learned that happiness is largely a choice we make, and that it takes just as much energy to choose to suffer as it does to choose to be happy. There's always plenty to be grateful for if my mind's in the right place, and of course, I wish I could get into that place more often and stay there longer!