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William W. DuBois photograph collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArt-0112

Scope and Contents

The William W. DuBois photograph collection contains multiple portfolios of his work.

Cuban Laundry (also known as Cuban Lines) – On one of several RIT study-abroad trips to Havana, Cuba, DuBois was inspired by not only the people and buildings of the city, but by the details of daily life as well, particularly the wire and rope clotheslines that stretch across and between buildings. In these images, color, motion and the vibrant blue of the sky combine with the playful, yet functional design of clotheslines, clothespins and laundry. In those images where all architectural references have been removed, the laundry items appear to be caught in midair, billowing and floating.

Bed Pan Images (also known as Bedpan Elegance) – Showcasing part of DuBois’ personal bedpan collection, these 24 minimalist images of antique and contemporary bedpans and male and female urinals of various sizes and materials elevate such lowly objects and turn them into objet d’art. DuBois himself admits to being enamored with bedpans due to their used “objectness,” and to have used this collection of images to highlight photography’s ability to create both a universal collection and an encyclopedia of all things.

Parisian Spaces (also known as Parisian Structures) – This collection, photographed in the 1990s, features heavy emphasis on structural elements, thanks to the use of a monochrome black-and-white, with a range of subtle greys. The photographs present the essence of constructed space with directional lines that lead the viewer into the presence of planned form and ambience, reflecting the cultural and aesthetic significance of Paris.

Image Sequence, “Wires” – While traveling through Germany in 1984, DuBois noticed the precision of the wiring installation used to supply the electricity for the train system. Selection of each connection provides a linear message for the viewer. The last image in the sequence brings in the motion of the train to help explain the purpose of the sequence.

There are also four random photographs which DuBois referred to as “Unique Images,” which were part of the same portfolio as Image Sequence, “Wires”, but not part of that sequence:

Scarborough Civic Centre - Toronto, Ontario, 1986

U.S. Library of Congress - Staircase, 1997

Jinan, China:

China Fishing Birds - 2009

China Lotus Farmer - 2009


  • Creation: 1984-20015

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

William W. (Bill) DuBois has been a photographer for over 40 years, and holds a BFA in photography from Ohio University and a masters degree in Career and Technology Education from Bowling Green State University. He was a professor in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences within the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS) at the Rochester Institute of Technology from 1974 until his retirement in 2011. During his time at RIT, DuBois was a coordinator for the RIT Big Shot (a nighttime community photography project produced by the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences) from its inception in 1987, until 2013. DuBois has photographed news events, portraits, sports, landscapes and fine arts projects, but a particular passion of his is architectural photography, which brings out his love of problem-solving, as each structure requires an exacting eye in order to determine both the essence of the building and architect’s intent, and the technical challenges of architectural photography are constant. These challenges are what keep DuBois carrying his cameras as he travels the world with his wife and fellow Big Shot staff member, Dawn Tower DuBois.


1.5 Linear Feet (2 Lid boxes containing 86 photographs)




Photographs created by William W. DuBois. DuBois was a professor in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences from 1974 until his retirement in 2011. The collection contains photographs of DuBois' personal bed pan collection as well as images from his travels to Cuba and Paris.


The collection is grouped by portfolio.

Other Finding Aids

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

William W. DuBois photograph collection

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donted to the RIT Archive Collections by Bill DuBois in August 2016. Accession number(s): 2016:039

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jennifer Roeszies in September 2016.

William W. DuBois photograph collection
RIT Art Collection
Jennifer Roeszies
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA