Hermann Photographer William Fields captures autumn beauty in the Missouri countryside.

Photo courtesy of William Fields

The farms and orchards that formed the backdrop for Williams Fields’s youth are among his favorite subjects as a photographer. His journeys down backroads and along fence rows reveal details often lost on those who speed by Missouri’s farm fields on the interstate.

The Hermann resident didn’t set out to be a professional photographer, although a passion for photography took hold when he received his first Kodak Brownie camera at age eight. Between then and now, he was a Navy plane captain, a sailboat racer, and an engineer working in the aerospace, laser technology, and automotive industries. Still, his interest in photography never faded and he continued to study the art even while following other professional and creative pursuits. 

Photography was just one of several artistic diversions. He also honed his skills in printmaking and watercolor painting. A brush with Hollywood helped Bill see himself as the professional photographer he was destined to become.

“When I sold a couple of pictures to Steven Speilberg for set decorations, I finally began to consider myself a photographer,” he says. Those photographs decorated the captain’s quarters in a mid-’90s television series called Seaquest DSV.

His own quest to photographically preserve the landscapes he sees around him has led to the publication of two books: Hermann, Missouri: One of the Prettiest Towns in America, and The Four Directions: A Southwestern Journey. The latter won first prize at the 2019 Independent Publishers Awards for Best Coffee Table Book. 

To see all photos from this article, check out the September 2022 issue of Missouri Life.