PODCAST: In Search Of Bill Jay, Episode 1, ‘The Search Begins: It Was a Snap Shot Magazine’

In episode 1 of this new podcast series Grant Scott begins his search for Bill Jay and hears from photographers John Benton Harris, Patrick Ward, David Hurn, Bryn Campbell, Homer Sykes, Brian Griffin, Martin Parr, Paul Hill and Bill’s sister Sue Jay. He even hears Bill’s side of the story.

William ‘Bill’ Jay (12 August 1940 – 10 May 2009) was a photographer, a writer on and advocate of photography, a curator,  a magazine and picture editor, lecturer, public speaker and mentor. He was the first editor of Creative Camera Owner magazine, which became Creative Camera magazine (1967–1969) and founder and editor of Albummagazine (1970–1971).

He established the first gallery dedicated to photography in the UK with the Do Not Bend Gallery, London and the first Director of Photography at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Whilst there he founded and directed the first photo-study centre.

He studied at the University of New Mexico under Beaumont Newhall and Van Deren Coke and then founded the Photographic Studies programme at Arizona State University, where he taught photography history and criticism for 25 years.

He is the author of more than twenty books on the history and criticism of photography, four books of his own photography, and roughly 400 essays, lectures and articles. His regular column titled Endnotes was published within Lenswork magazine for a number of years.

His own photographs have been widely published, including a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Thanks to Aaron Bommarito for archive recordings with Bill Jay. All other interviews were conducted by Grant Scott.

Dr. Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, documentary filmmaker, BBC Radio contributor and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Routledge 2014), The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Routledge 2015), New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography (Routledge 2019).

© Grant Scott 2022


  1. Just finished the documentary. Thank you so much for making this inspiring film about a exceptional human being who happened to love photography. To be honest, I haven’t heard of Bill Jay until Grant mentioned it on his podcast. I was and maybe am in a critical juncture in my photography career where I don’t see much of a future doing what I have been doing for over a decade being a freelancer because my heart wasn’t in it anymore. My passion for making images hasn’t changed or waned, however. This doc gives me some hope but I am still not sure what I would do next.

  2. Just as there was an absence of photography outside of commercial venues, the missing link in photography in the 60’s was the absence of women in the inner circles of power that were influential. That was to change somewhat with the rise of the feminist movement in the 70’s.

    1. True but there was also an absence of inner circles of power in the sixties but there were great women photographers featured by Bill within Creative Camera before 1970.

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