45 responses to Bill Coleman on Amish photography
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    Carolyn K
    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 08:44)

    Went to his website. Beautiful photography.

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    Comment on Amish Photography (December 15th, 2011 at 08:46)

    Amish Photography

    Very good post! Thanks, Erik….and Thanks to Bill Coleman, to allow us “Englishers” a glimpse into the Amish culture. My husband is also a “retired” professional photographer, and last year in Lancaster, PA, we were most impressed with the beautiful countryside and the culture, that he kept busy capturing a lot of that on his camera. We now have a huge photo album on our coffee table, to remember our trip by. As always, in Amish country, we were careful to always get “back” shots of Amish, never shooting their faces, out of respect for them.

    When seeing this part of the country, it brings a calmness to the soul, I believe. SharonR

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    Comment on Bill Coleman (December 15th, 2011 at 08:51)

    Bill Coleman

    I have enjoyed Bill Coleman’s work for years. I remember passing through State College, PA about 30 years ago and wishing I could live there! His photographs speak to Plain life in a realistic way. I am a Maine native, as well, so I have enjoyed the photos of the places I knew as a child and a young woman.

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    Katie Troyer
    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 09:12)

    Bill is my type of a photographer, capturing life as it is… from the backside.

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    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 09:20)

    I think Bill Coleman had the first Amish photographs I remember seeing when I first discovered them years ago. Without any Amish in the area, my glimpse of them has been few and far between. I appreciate the ability Coleman’s photographs have to transport me to the world of the Amish.

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    Stephen B.
    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 09:22)

    This column could have just as easily have been written about Paul Cyr of CrownofMaine.com:




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    Robin Miller
    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 09:25)

    I love his work … thanks for sharing this!!

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    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish Photography (December 15th, 2011 at 09:29)

    Bill Coleman on Amish Photography

    His photography is simply breathtaking and it captures a precious and beautiful part of our country 🙂 Greetings from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

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    Damon Hickey
    Comment on Doyle Yoder photography (December 15th, 2011 at 09:37)

    Doyle Yoder photography

    Nice piece on Bill Coleman’s photography, Erik. Thanks! Next time you’re in Ohio, you might interview Doyle Yoder in Berlin about his work with the Ohio Amish (http://www.dypinc.com/)

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    Adair Faust
    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 10:49)

    I discovered his work a couple of years ago and it is really inspired and inspirational. Somewhere online, there’s a video of him talking about it. I agree about photos of backs. My mother, who was an artist, always said that backs could be very expressive, and pictures of people’s backs often have such a contemplative mood about them. There’s a famous photo of Winston Churchill at work on his painting, and it captures his concentration (and unmistakable figure). I could stay at the computer for hours looking at Mr. Coleman’s Amish photography. I would love to buy one, but I’m afraid I would have to buy at least twenty – how could I possibly choose just one?

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      Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 13:43)

      This “backs” topic has given me some food for thought today. Okay, I’m going to catch myself trying to “read” someone’s back this week, I know it!

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    Comment on Bill Coleman photography (December 15th, 2011 at 12:58)

    Bill Coleman photography

    Thanks for sharing, Erik, beautiful work!!
    I will have to save up to purchase one….we have lots of beautiful scenes here in upstate NY where the Mennonites and Amish live, many of those are so similar to this area!

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    Kevin Lindsey
    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 13:03)

    Such beautiful photographs! Thanks for sharing the link and the story!

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    Naomi Wilson
    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 14:08)

    I love, love, love Bill Coleman’s work. I visit his website often when I need to be uplifted. His pictures of children in a natural setting have been hugely influential for me deciding to raise our children in a plain, farm setting.

    Also, I grew up working at Colonial Williamsburg, and I am fascinated by the clear links, especially in clothing styles, between the contemporary Nebraska Amish and the 18th century. I don’t notice this link when looking at any other group of Amish.

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    Comment on Bill coleman Photography (December 15th, 2011 at 16:05)

    Bill coleman Photography

    Excellent post, Erik. The photos evoke a strong emotional response. Thank you!

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    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 16:08)

    I have some first edtions Of Coleman’s books, one signed by him. They are quite pricey now a days; the older ones sell well over $100. I also have signed limited photos of Coleman including proof photos.
    I like the fact, that Bill photographs children, who look directly into his camera; there are very few of these around.
    Bill’s photography has helped me a lot about the Amish to satisfy my never ending curiosity about them.
    I am glad that you shared with all of us about Bill’s photography.

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    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 16:34)

    I just clicked thru Bill’s work…absolutely breathtaking! I would love to have a number of those pictures in my home! Thanks for sharing Erik!

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    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 15th, 2011 at 16:57)

    I once was invited to take photos of an Amish barn raising (white topper), who knew my husband. This Amishman wanted to have/see photos of his barn. We arrived early and discovered that Bill was there also. I got a video and lots of photos, and then contributed an article on the barn raising to a local magazine. This magazine called Common Ground is written locally and always has photos of the Amish. Most are contributed by amateur photographers, but have professional qualities. Check out their website for examples of their work and maybe get a subscription. Anyone reading this site of Erik’s will love this magazine.
    www.commonground-pa.com Enjoy!

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    Comment on Thanks for sharing! (December 15th, 2011 at 21:58)

    Thanks for sharing!

    Okay, I’m going to have to add Mr. Coleman’s online galleries to my list of websites to visit on a regular basis. On first glance I really like the shots of people walking. I remember seeing Old Order people walking somewhere in Ontario Amish/Mennonite country, and thinking “wow, I wonder where their going” they seemed to be walking as a family, which was nice, maybe they didn’t go too far, sadly I don’t remember what day of the week it was, perhaps they where going to a church meeting.
    Beautiful pictures!

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    Susan F
    Comment on Amazing Photos (December 15th, 2011 at 23:14)

    Amazing Photos

    Mr. Coleman’s photographs are wonderful! One thing I noticed about this particular Amish community are the brightly colored fabrics used in the clothing. I don’t see Amish use these colors in Indiana and Illinois, at least not where I’ve been.

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    Comment on Changes in Amish Colored Dresses (December 16th, 2011 at 04:30)

    Changes in Amish Colored Dresses

    Here in the Holmes County Oh Amish, we see alot of changes to what is allowed in colors of dresses anymore. Bright colors in the summer months, & I’m assuming they are probably New Order Amish or more liberal-I’m even seeing red dresses now which was never seen before. So looks like clotheslines have colors of the rainbow at times. But when visiting PA, I mentioned that to a Mennonite woman & she remarked “yes, we noticed the LOUD colors in Ohio Amish!” hmm-would flowers then be considered loud colored?

    Beautiful pictures, from Mr. Coleman-thank you for sharing Erik.

    Was wondering-have you ever done a post about the Amish Guest Books in their home? I just bought one for my daughter & her hubby, got the idea when I learned of Amish using them.

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      Comment on Amish guest books (December 16th, 2011 at 08:59)

      Amish guest books

      Valerie that’s a great idea. In many Amish homes sure enough you will be asked to sign a guest book, which I love doing, mainly because of the chance to glance through and see who else has been through! At the schools as well.

      I wish I had a photo of a guest book though. If anyone has one and wants to send it to me to share, I think we could cook up a post on this topic.

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    Comment on Have Requested it Erik (December 16th, 2011 at 09:38)

    Have Requested it Erik

    I asked one of my Beachy Amish friends if they have a guest book & could send a shot of it your way-he’s so funny, & said “you want a list of our guests out there on the internet?”-
    Anyway, I think he may send you one-

    I found a nice one at the Christian Bookstore. It had a different scripture on each page. My daughter & her husband live in Hawaii & get alot of company from the mainland their way-so I thought they’d enjoy starting this Amish tradition.
    Sorry I got off topic here-

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      Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 16th, 2011 at 10:07)

      Thanks Valerie! No I actually just meant the cover or a view with no names visible 🙂 Thanks to your friend in advance and we’ll see what we can come up with.

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    Comment on All we are sayin’ is give Amish peace a chance (December 17th, 2011 at 23:00)

    All we are sayin’ is give Amish peace a chance

    There is a picture in Coleman’s “Not to Offend” section showing a group of young men flipping the bird, in the image one man looks a bit like The Beatles John Lennon about the time of Let It Be, or whenever he was photographed wearing wide brimmed hats in the late 60s as a member of the band, it’s the young Amish man’s sunglasses and the hat that make him look like the ever popular rocker, though Englisher Lennon was bearded in the pictures I’m referencing and the Amish fellow is clean shaven.

    Or maybe, conspiracy theorist SHOM strikes again (like Erik/AA’s long gossiped nuptials), maybe a murderer’s bullet didn’t strike John the Walrus, maybe it was a rouse and he quite the world and joined the Amish trying to get himself some peace. 😉

    No disrepect intended I’ve just been on a Beatles kick all afternoon.

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    Katie Troyer
    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 17th, 2011 at 23:24)

    In one of those pictures only one of the guy would not flip the bird. I have often wondered what was his thoughts and where is he now?

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    Julie Turner
    Comment on Bill Coleman (December 18th, 2011 at 02:28)

    Bill Coleman

    As long as Mr Coleman is being respectful towards the Amish and their beliefs, then I think it is okay.

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    Wilmer Otto
    Comment on Coleman or Charleton (December 30th, 2011 at 08:54)

    Coleman or Charleton

    Hi Eric,

    I enjoy your website on the Amish and most of the time you accurately capture the nuances of their culture and society. I recognize how difficult it is for someone who was not reared as an Amish person to inculcate all of those nuances.

    However, 15 years ago I was quite put off by my first encounter with his first book (title forgotten). He claimed to have found a ‘hidden valley’ of Amish. It is not hidden at all, anyone who reads the Budget, knows where the Amish communities are located. But it adds a little mystery and intrigue to call it ‘hidden’.

    He claimed in the book that an Amish person whom he photographed in his buggy, disapprovingly called out, “you have stolen my spirit”. This is pure hokum. Primitive societies may have a fear that a camera will steal their spirit, no Amish person believes that.

    While the Amish are a very open and friendly people, it is not true that all of them “love the photographer”. There may be marginal Amish who do not object vociferously, since vociferousness is generally disapproved, but the camera is an intrusion into their lives, and one should always be conscious of that when patronizing an “amish gallery”.


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    Michelle Norris
    Comment on Artist Proof #458 and #914 (February 24th, 2012 at 15:41)

    Artist Proof #458 and #914

    What delightful insight into the artist and his ability to submerse himself in the Amish community. Pennsylvania lends for a gorgeous backdrop in photograhphs, and the Amish community adds to such a beautiful area of the country.
    We were not familier with Mr. Coleman’s work until this afternoon. My ten year old son purchased two matted & framed artists proofs, signed by artist, and gallery stamped on the back of the framing. He has recieved an extra American history lesson, as well as an art lesson for this Friday. The gallery has amazing works online and I have quickly become a huge fan of Mr. Coleman’s work. If anyone knows anything about these two pieces, please let us know! My son said he my even be willing to sell : ) a young entrepeneur at heart!

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    Karla Swanson Klayman
    Comment on Sharing art and memories (February 27th, 2012 at 23:21)

    Sharing art and memories

    Hi there, I was born and raised in state college. My favorite thing to do growing up was for my parents to take me on a long drive to Lancaster to look at, follow, talk to and of course go in their homes for the best part….to buy pies, breads and jams. One day i saw a boy and girl kissing and wished i had a camera! As I got older I started taking photos of the Amish but not in any competition with Bill Coleman who’s work hung in my families home for as long as I can remember. I have been lucky enough, on a few occasions, to go to his gallery and pick out a few originals as my parents did before me. What I love though, more than anything now, is knowing as my mom sits in a assistant living home in Florida is that her walls are filled with the photographs. It’s as if Bill knew that one day it would be my mothers memories of a life now gone. Thank you Bill.

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      Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (February 27th, 2012 at 23:50)

      Karla, since alot of Bill Coleman’s pictures were taken in Big Valley, just over the mountain from State College, and you were so close to this area, didn’t you go there to see the Amish there? Not as touristic as Lancaster County, but very quaint with several good craftsmen and local stores. One thing unique to the Big Valley Amish is the 3 different types and the wearing of just one suspender by 2 of the groups, and no suspenders by the other white top buggy group. Alot of interesting features very different from the Lancaster Amish. Just wondering if you ventured over to visit their shops.

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        Karla Swanson Klayman
        Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (February 28th, 2012 at 00:02)

        Oh believe you, me….we went everywhere from over the hill and through the woods. My point was that I couldn’t get enough and would beg my parents to keep going. Many a weekends spent driving just to see more Amish people doing a days work or play. Loved watching them all come out of church. So many memories in my mind. Love them all.

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          Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (February 28th, 2012 at 00:09)

          Glad to hear you ventured here also. The valley has so much to offer. Our bnb has a fanstastic view of the valley and it’s always a special Sunday for guests when our Amish neighbors have church. I feel so blessed to be able to experience their life every day! Makes one sit back and be thankful for the basics.

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    Karla Swanson Klayman
    Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (February 28th, 2012 at 10:58)

    I’m sure I’ve passed by your BNB hundreds of times. Lovely views you offer.

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    Comment on My Bill Coleman memories (December 26th, 2012 at 09:39)

    My Bill Coleman memories

    I have had the priviledge of meeting and chatting with Bill on an occassion here in Connecticut and have a few of his pictures hanging in my home. I have on occassion gone to Lancaster and photgraphed some of the scenes around the area but none of mine were the quality of Bill’s. The irronic part is that they were all destroyed when many of my photos were lost to water damage. Pre-computer age)
    I hope to make it back this coming Spring or Summer.

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    Marion Ratajczak
    Comment on SIMPLY LOVELY (August 13th, 2013 at 10:38)


    Bill Coleman’s photos of the countryside are breathtaking and he catches essence of the people perfectly. I used to live in Wisconsin and we had some Amish families near Shawano. One family helped us when our camping bus had a problem. We visited another family and they took us for a ride in their buggy. Both families were very friendly. I felt sorry that some people were prejudiced against them. The biggest complaint of these prejudiced people was how the Amish buggies were so slow on the highway. How small minded! These people are missing a great pleasure.

    Keep up letting others know about the lovely Amish.

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    Ron Mittelman
    Comment on Creating memories (November 13th, 2013 at 13:24)

    Creating memories

    Not only do I love Bill’s work, but have been blessed in many ways having known him since my youth in the early 50’s when he first took photos of my family. Bill’s work is beyond comparison and captures a way of life most of us know nothing about. Of all the people I have known in my life, Bill is likely one of the most unique personalities I have encountered. A true human being and an eye only an artist can possess. You can admire his work as we all do, but to know him means that you truly get the fact that he is genius in so many ways. Thank you for years of memories Bill. Very much appreciated.

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    Susan Mancuso
    Comment on Family Photo (December 4th, 2013 at 12:11)

    Family Photo

    How do I purchase the above photo of the mom Dad and five children walking down the road. I love this pic.

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      Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 4th, 2013 at 13:00)

      Susan, you should be able to go directly to his website and purchase this photo. There are links to his site below.

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      Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 4th, 2013 at 13:02)

      Susan, you should be able to go directly to his website and purchase this photo. There are links to his site below. Oops, just checked; go to www.amishphoto.com I believe Erik has the link on his also.

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      Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 4th, 2013 at 13:04)

      Thanks Claudia. Here is the direct link to that photo: http://amishphoto.com/images/image_pages/723.htm

      This month they are donating 10% of purchase price to the Clinic for Special Children.

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        Susan Mancuso
        Comment on Bill Coleman on Amish photography (December 4th, 2013 at 13:44)

        Thank you, Erik. I just ordered the picture. Soooo excited. I collect Bill’s photos.

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    Comment on Bill Coleman (February 5th, 2017 at 21:50)

    Bill Coleman

    Many years ago when I started to get interested in the Amish, and failed to find any photos of the Amish which would be of interest to me, I happen to come a photo by Bill Coleman. Through the years I’ve bought photos from Bill, he’s such a simple and great person! At one time I glanced through his catalog and came across a photo that I really liked but was sold out. When I asked Bill about it, he said remembered the photo. Much to my surprise, he wrote me back shortly thereafter and said that he decided to print more, and not only that, he sold me the artist proof!
    For those that have not seen Bill’s photos I recommend his photography very highly!
    Alas, Bill has passed away, I felt very sad because somehow I felt I had lost a friend…

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