Professor, Photography

Bill teaches photography courses at all levels. In his classes, students work in both analog and digital platforms. Bill is especially interested in teaching about photobooks and the poetic document in photography. Prior to arriving at UVM in 2002, he taught at Texas A&M-Commerce and Rochester Institute of Technology.

In Bill’s project, Roxham Road, he photographically triangulates the current exodus of asylum seekers from northeastern New York State into Canada with two historical examples of societal intolerance which took place in the same region; the imprisonment of Chinese citizens in the early 1900s and the Underground Railroad corridor. Photographs from Roxham Road were included in the exhibition, Crossing Lines, Constructing Home- Belonging and Displacement in Contemporary Art at the Harvard Art Museum, Harvard University in 2019.

His selected solo exhibitions include Jan Kesner Gallery, in Los Angeles, Houston Center of Photography, Robert B. Menschel Gallery at Light Work, The University of Notre Dame, Kenyon College, The Bennington Museum, and St. Lawrence University. His group shows include Harvard Art Museum, Musée d’art de Pully, Switzerland, Whitechapel Gallery, London, U.K., Dallas Museum of Art, Blue Sky Gallery, Society for Contemporary Photography, in Kansas City, and the Triennial of Photography at the Deichtorhallen Museum, Hamburg.

Bill's photographs and artist books are represented in collections at Harvard University, Yale University of Art Gallery, the Harvard Art Museums, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, Light Work, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Deichtorhallen Museum, Wellesley College, St. Lawrence University, and Rochester Institute of Technology.


Bill's photography book, Ground, with contributions by Wendell Berry and Rosanne Cash, was published by Daylight Books in 2016. Mother Jones Magazine listed Ground in their notable photography books of 2016 and Artnet named it one of the year’s top 10 art books. Articles and reviews on Ground appeared in the Village VoiceMusée MagazineHyperallergic, L’oeil de la PhotograpieMother Jones MagazineThe GuardianSlate, and Fotograf Magazine.

McDowell's monograph, Banner of Light: The Lily Dale Photographs, was published by Light Work in Contact Sheet 96, and his photographs have appeared in Art in America, Art Issues, The New Yorker, Russian Esquire, Guernica, Spot, and Exposure.

Awards and Recognition

Bill is a recipient of a Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant, and has received the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer's Fellowship, the New York Foundation on the Arts Photography Fellowship, as well as many artist research grants from the University of Vermont and Texas A&M- Commerce.


  • Rochester Institute of Technology, MFA


Office Location:

303 Williams Hall

Courses Taught

  •  ARTS 2510