William Coupon
People Known: The Actor, Politician, Author, and Athlete, Etc. People: In Environments People: In Polaroids Studio 54 People Unkown
Cultures Captured: The World's Tribes and Subcultures Cultures Captured: The Environmentals Cultures Captured: SX-70 Polaroids The Project in Words
Digital America Digital China Digital Philippines Digital South America Digital Mexico
iPhone America iPhone the World

I am a portrait photographer from New York City. I now work out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the high desert.   I traded the broken skyline of Manhattan for the peaceful serene Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. 

My first photographs were photographs that talked – called "audiographs" – which were photographs that had looped cassettes behind a framed image, and photographs that moved – called "kinetographs" – which were photographs that were attached to moving motors. The "kinetographs" were commissioned for window displays at Bloomingdale’s in the late l970’s. I photographed a documentary on Studio 54, the legendary New York disco, in late summer l978, and they immediately were included in the International Center of Photography exhibition: "Fleeting Gestures: Treasures of Dance Photography."

I became interested in formal studio portraits in 1979 while observing it’s lower Manhattan youth (my peers) and it’s present counter-culture, and decided early on to use a single-light source and simple mottled backdrop, and when I needed to, I would set this up as a portable studio, one highly mobile. This was then used to document global sub-cultures. Many of the projects – referred to as "Social Studies" – became documents of indigenous people. These include projects on Haiti, Australian Aboriginals, Native Americans, Scandinavian Laplanders, Israeli Druzim, Moroccan Berbers, Alaskan Yupik, Spanish Gypsies, Turkish Kurds, Central African Pygmy, and Panamanian Cuna and Chocoe. These projects also included Death Row Inmates, Drag Queens, and Cowboys. Stylistically, they were always photographed formally on the backdrop, and contextually, or environmentally , with 2 1/4 Rolleiflex black and white images, which were meant to be companions to the studio portraits.

In 1992, I was invited to photograph the world’s tribal leaders during Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was asked by the United Nations and the United States Congress in November of 1994 to exhibit this work in the United States Senate Rotunda, as part of the UN’s Year of the Indigenous People. These are exhibited in large archival IRIS and Inkjet prints.

In addition to this personal work, I have worked extensively in commercial photography and film. I have photographed 15 Time Magazine covers – including portraits of all the Presidents since Richard Nixon. These include the Clinton and Bush Person of the Year covers.  This, of course, was done before the internet  and blogging era, which effectively made Time Magazine and much of the print media much less significant.   Newsweek covers include Michael Ovitz and Jerry Garcia. Rolling Stone Magazine covers include Mick Jagger, George Harrison, Jerry Garcia, and Neil Young. The New York Times Sunday Magazine covers include Secretary of State Shultz and Elie Wiesel and a major investigative article on the Turkish Kurds. I have photographed some of the world’s leaders including Benazir Bhutto, Yasser Arafat, Kofi Annan, and Prince Phillip, and have won several awards through assignments for Esquire, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, People, Details, The Economist, Texas Monthly, Playboy, Forbes, Fortune, and many other international publications. I have completed major advertising campaigns for Nike, Titleist, HP, Rolex, FedEx, Transamerica, Ford, Japan Airlines, Amgen, Searle, Blue/Cross/BlueShield, Apple Computer, Maxell Audio. I have done major corporate campaigns for The Robin Hood Foundation, Merrill/Lynch, The Washington Post Company, Morgan Stanley, Harvard University, The New York Times Company, McDonnell Douglas, and the Johns Hopkins University Hospital. I have an extensive catalog of environmental portrait color images - the collection including numerous celebrities and politicians.

The book "SOCIAL STUDIES "~ a book of comparitive portraits of culture and sub-culture from the 29 groups around the world, is being designed at this time and soon there will be a release date.




Social Studies One:  The Punk and the New Wave, New York Cityc  February, 1979

Social Studies Two:  Haitians, Jacmel, Haiti   May, 1979

Social Studies Three:  Death Row Inmates, Florida State Penitentiary, Starke, Florida  October, 1979

Social Studies Four:  Australian Aboriginals, The Outback of Australia   August, 1980

Social Studies Five:  Drag Queens, Sydney, Australia  August, 1980

Social Studies Six:  Native Americans, New York City   February, 1981

Social Studies Seven:  Sami Laplanders, Northern Scandinavia  July, 1981

Social Studies Eight:  American Cowboys, Northern Wyoming  October, 1981

Social Studies Nine:  The Israeli Druzim, Norther Israel   January, 1982

Social Studies Ten:  Moroccan Berbers, The High Atlas Mountains   May, 1982

Social Studies Eleven:  Quechua and Aymara Indians of Peru and Bolivia  July, 1984

Social Studies Twelve:  The Traditional Dutch, Holland   May, 1985

Social Studies Thirteen:  The Tarahumara Indians,   Creel and Copper Canyon, Mexico   September, 1988

Social Studies Fourteen:  The Mennonites, Cuauhtemoc, Mexico  September, 1988

Social Studies Fifteen:   The Yupik and Athabascan Indians, Alaska, USA   July, 1989

Social Studies Sixteen:  The Kurds, Southeastern turkey, April, 1991

Social Studies Seventeen:  The Lacandon, Chiapas, Mexico   May, 1991

Social Studies Eighteen:   The Aleuts, The Aleutian Chain, Alaska, USA  June, 1991

Social Studies Nineteen:   New Guinea Tribesmen, Mendi Highlands, Papua New Guinea  June, 1991

Social Studies Twenty:   The Penan, Borneo, Malaysia   July, 1991

Social Studies Twenty-One:   The Pygmy, Bayanga, Central African Republic   July, 1991

Social Studies Twenty-Two:  The Sardi, Orgosolo, Italy   October, 1991

Social Studies Twenty-Three:  The Chocoe, Wichi Wab, Panama    April, 1992

Social Studies Twenty-Four:  The Cuna, Porvenir, The San Blas Islands, Panama   April, 1992

Social Studies Twenty-Five:  The Caraja, Maranho, Isla do Bananal, Brazil    June, 1992

Social Studies Twenty-Six:   The Gypsies, Granada, Spain    September, 1993

Social Studies Twenty-Seven:   The Huicholes, Nayarit, Mexico   September, 1993

Social Studies Twenty-Eight:   The T'Zutuhil, Central Guatemala     December, 2009

Social Studies Twenty-Nine:  The T'Boli, Southern Mindanao, Philippines    April, 2010

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