William Guion has photographed the landscape and oaks of Louisiana for more than three decades. His large-format, black-and-white and colored landscape images and "tree portraits" portray the oaks elegantly, revealing the majestic and mystical qualities of this Southern icon. Not since the landscape paintings of early 20th century Louisiana artists A.J. Drysdale and William Henry Buck has a Southern artist focused on a long-term study of the Southern live oak.

Guion is largely self-taught as an artist, though his parallel career as a creative director and writer in business communications helped shape his perspective on the combined visual power of words and imagery.

His early photographic work was largely influenced by the black-and-white tradition of photography associated with the f-64 Group in California. He was exposed to this style of photography as a student and assistant at various workshops given by the Friends of Photography in Carmel, California. After living in California between 2000 and 2006 he began painting and coloring his images in response to the colors of the rolling golden hills and woodlands that he hiked and explored across the mountainous foothills of California's central coast. 

Around 2007, moved by the loss of many of the oldest oaks in the Gulf South from powerful hurricanes and urban development, Guion returned to Louisiana. He began to focus his efforts on locating and photographing the oldest live oaks across the state and to document these historic trees before they and the human stories connected with them are lost.

In 2016, he received a major grant from the Louisiana Department of Tourism to photograph and document the human history connected to the centuries-old live oaks growing along Bayou Lafourche. In 2017, he worked on a smaller project for Lafayette Area Tourism and has consulted with other parishes and historic preservation groups across the state who've become interested in creating similar records of the human history associated with the old live oaks in their areas. 

His writings and photographs about oaks have appeared in numerous publications such as American Forests, Louisiana Life, and Country Roads magazines, the Journal of the International Oak Society, the Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate, Cultural Vistas (publication of the Louisiana Endowment of the Humanities), Under the Oaks magazine (the alumni publication of Newcomb College of Arts), the Calumet Fine-Art newsletter, View Camera magazine, Creation Spirituality magazine, and books like Live Oak Lore by Ethelyn Orso, Spiritual Literacy by Frederick and Mary Ann Brussat, Folklife in Louisiana through Photography by Frank DeCaro, and the Art of the State, Louisiana, by Abrams Books.

Guion’s photographs are contained in a variety of corporate and private collections across the country as well as the public collections of the Louisiana Folk life Museum, the Louisiana State Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

A sampling of his continuing work with oaks is contained in four books: Heartwood, Meditations on Southern Oaks, published by Bulfinch/Little Brown Press in 1998; Heartwood, Further Meditations on Oaks, by Blue Oak Press in 2009; and Across Golden Hills – Meditations on California Oaks in 2013, and Laura Plantation – Images and Impressions, published in 2017 by The Zoe Company. Currently he is working on a fifth book project on historic oak alleys of Louisiana.

Biography

William Guion has photographed the landscape and oaks of Louisiana for more than three decades. His large-format, black-and-white and colored landscape images and "tree portraits" portray the oaks elegantly, revealing the majestic and mystical qualities of this Southern icon. Not since the landscape paintings of early 20th century Louisiana artists A.J. Drysdale and William Henry Buck has a Southern artist focused on a long-term study of the Southern live oak.

Guion is largely self-taught as an artist, though his parallel career as a creative director and writer in business communications helped shape his perspective on the combined visual power of words and imagery.

His early photographic work was largely influenced by the black-and-white tradition of photography associated with the f-64 Group in California. He was exposed to this style of photography as a student and assistant at various workshops given by the Friends of Photography in Carmel, California. After living in California between 2000 and 2006 he began painting and coloring his images in response to the colors of the rolling golden hills and woodlands that he hiked and explored across the mountainous foothills of California's central coast. 

Around 2007, moved by the loss of many of the oldest oaks in the Gulf South from powerful hurricanes and urban development, Guion returned to Louisiana. He began to focus his efforts on locating and photographing the oldest live oaks across the state and to document these historic trees before they and the human stories connected with them are lost.

In 2016, he received a major grant from the Louisiana Department of Tourism to photograph and document the human history connected to the centuries-old live oaks growing along Bayou Lafourche. In 2017, he worked on a smaller project for Lafayette Area Tourism and has consulted with other parishes and historic preservation groups across the state who've become interested in creating similar records of the human history associated with the old live oaks in their areas. 

His writings and photographs about oaks have appeared in numerous publications such as American Forests, Louisiana Life, and Country Roads magazines, the Journal of the International Oak Society, the Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate, Cultural Vistas (publication of the Louisiana Endowment of the Humanities), Under the Oaks magazine (the alumni publication of Newcomb College of Arts), the Calumet Fine-Art newsletter, View Camera magazine, Creation Spirituality magazine, and books like Live Oak Lore by Ethelyn Orso, Spiritual Literacy by Frederick and Mary Ann Brussat, Folklife in Louisiana through Photography by Frank DeCaro, and the Art of the State, Louisiana, by Abrams Books.

Guion’s photographs are contained in a variety of corporate and private collections across the country as well as the public collections of the Louisiana Folk life Museum, the Louisiana State Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

A sampling of his continuing work with oaks is contained in four books: Heartwood, Meditations on Southern Oaks, published by Bulfinch/Little Brown Press in 1998; Heartwood, Further Meditations on Oaks, by Blue Oak Press in 2009; and Across Golden Hills – Meditations on California Oaks in 2013, and Laura Plantation – Images and Impressions, published in 2017 by The Zoe Company. Currently he is working on a fifth book project on historic oak alleys of Louisiana.