Intro Notes

In addition to his love for photography, Bill Belknap also had a passion for words. In a taped interview with R.J. Johnson in 1979, Bill spoke of how he first became involved with writing. "The writing part -- that came through doing a photographic assignment for the Geographic back in the early 1950's, I guess it was. The writer on this particular project conked out and so the folks at the Geographic said, 'well, we're in a spot.' 'How would you like to try to tackle writing a story for us?' I said, well, I'll try anything once. Somehow it clicked and I've kind of been hooked on writing ever since. I'm really in love with words and trying to learn all I can about them."

Bill wrote several articles to accompany his photographs for National Geographic, as well as free-lance stories for other publications. Between 1951 and 1956, interspersed with his assignments, family life and a myriad of other activities, Belknap wrote a weekly article for the Boulder City News. His column, "Boulder Camera," related information from his photographic shop and was a friendly, humorous, commentary on the people, events and time period of the Boulder City area and surroundings.

"Book publishing and [the] book distributing business all sort of grew out of photography. Those are the two main things that we’re into now. Writing. Gotten into doing several books," continued Bill in his interview. Two books were born out of his close friendships -- one in conjunction and about Hopi artist Fred Kabotie and the other written with his wife, Fran Belknap, regarding the painter Gunnar Widforss.

Westwater Books, a Belknap Family endeavor and the brainchild of Buzz Belknap, Bill's son, produced a series of mile by mile guides for the major rivers of the Colorado Plateau. Bill contributed photographs and some of the text and captions for the river guides. Writing, like photography, remained a constant in Bill Belknap's life after he first embraced it, and his writings provide an insight into the man behind the camera and the typewriter.

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