Bill Coleman 1925-2014

Photographer of the Amish Bill Coleman passed away last week at the age of 88.

Bill Coleman The Last Time

From the Centre Daily Times:

Bill Coleman, who died Tuesday at 88 of complications from a heart attack, went on to befriend Amish families who invited him into their lives, granting the local photographer rare access to scenes outsiders seldom glimpse.

He became known internationally for his Amish images: buggies on tree-shaded lanes, children playing in schoolyards, young men walking in a cluster down a road.

Throughout his long and successful career, starting with his first State College studio in 1951, he strove to capture the essence of people — from the student and local resident portraits of his early years to the Amish and European scenes that defined his later work.

“He was an observer,” said Noah Coleman, who moved back to State College five years ago to manage his father’s archives.

“He observed body language. He observed color and how people used their hands, whether they were fishermen or they just used their hands to communicate, as the Italians do. He just derived pleasure from that, being an observer.”

Here’s the rest of the article on Bill’s life and photographic journey, an interview with Bill and son Noah, and more of Bill’s photos.

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    1. City Slicker

      Rest in Peace, Mr. Coleman — and thank you for the wonderful photos!

    2. Mr. Coleman will not be forgotten; his wonderful images will be enjoyed into eternity.

      Tom The Backroads Traveller

    3. Kevin L.

      I am so sorry to hear that. I loved his work. My condolences to his family

    4. OldKat

      May God bless his soul

      I am really sorry to hear of this news. I had wondered in the past how old Mr. Coleman was; I guess I am surprised that he was 88.

      I absolutely have enjoyed his photography and he was truly a valuable window in a world that most of us would never see otherwise. Surely, he will be missed.

      Rest In Peace Bill Coleman.

    5. Amy Hering

      This makes me so sad. I love his photos and own a couple. Rest in peace, Bill.

    6. Jo Ann Betts

      Very sad to hear, loved his work.

    7. Vannetta Chapman

      Godly man

      Bill was a lovely, godly man – and while he’ll be missed I have no doubt he received a warm welcome as he walked through heaven’s gates.

      I’ve ordered photos before, and spoke with Noah who is wonderfully helpful. Bill was also kind enough to answer questions for my blog. Some readers didn’t understand how he could take photos of the Amish, then Bill explained his relationship with them and that he had their permission.

      He will be missed and he left behind a legacy of images we can enjoy for years to come.

    8. Brad of the Brethren

      Bill Colemans passing

      What a wonderful legacy he has left us, and other generations to enjoy. Through his lenses we {us English} were able to really see what the Amish world is like. With much Sympathy.

    9. MaryAnn Pepe

      R.I.P. Bill

      I am so sorry to hear of this. I will always treasure the books I have of his works.

    10. Christine McMahon-Chase

      I am sorry to hear of Mr. Coleman’s passing. I have enjoyed his photography — only began viewing this past year. Peace to his family.

    11. George

      Thank you Bill

      If it wasn’t for Bill’s photography of the Amish I would have never been interested in them.
      I have many bought photos from him. I recall asking him to purchase a photo.
      He replied that that particular one was discontinued.
      He then sent me an email that he found the negative and sold me the Artist’s proof.
      It’s sad to see him go but his works shall not be forgotten, may he rest in peace.
      He will always have a place in our hearts.
      Thank you Bill!

    12. Tina Watson

      wonderfully amazing photos

      When I learned Friday that Bill had passed earlier in the week I was stunned and even more stunned when I learned he was of the same state as me and no less a few counties away.
      He will be missed and my heart goes out to his family.

    13. Claire

      So sad! May his beautiful works never be forgotten. I love Bill’s photos and his amazing works of the heart that he translated through them.

    14. Tina Kegley

      How sad. What a blessing he was to all.

    15. Alice Mary

      I am so sad to hear of his passing. I enjoyed (still do & always will) his photographs…they often drew me into them, a world I’ll never be a part of in any other way.

      My sympathy to his family, friends, and countless fans.

      Alice Mary

    16. Marie Dawson


      His life work was just wonderful, it was always a great pleasure to look at all his pictures. RIP

    17. Ann Whitaker

      May he rest in peace and rise in glory. What a wonderful life and such a gift for so many. He and his work will be missed.

    18. Jeff

      Aww man!

      I just saw this and the first thing I said was, “Aww man!”. Totally a loss. Beautiful artistry in his work. There isn’t enough of simple and refreshing imagery these days. I loved his work ever since I saw it. Some serious, some quite funny (“The Itch” is hilarious!) but all VERY well balanced and brilliant. Though he is gone, it was a good thing he was here.