An award-winning photojournalist, Bill Brett is well known for his long career at The Boston Globe. In 2017, he began work on Boston: Game Changers, his sixth book, which is due out by the end of the year.
A Dorchester native where he was a member of St. Margaret’s Parish growing up, Bill was inducted into the Dorchester Hall of Fame on St. Patrick’s Day weekend 2017 at a fundraising event for the Mary Ann Brett Food Pantry, named for his mother.
His work can be seen regularly on the print pages and online platforms of The Globe as well as online at www.BillBrett.com and through his own active social media.
Bill started his news career hawking The Boston Globe on the street corners of Dorchester and first worked at The Globe as an 18-year-old part-time photographer, learning the art of photography and the business of news at the same time.
In 1977, he was named chief photographer at The Globe. He was the photography-member of The Globe team nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism in 1978 and 1979. In 1999, Bill became Director of Photography, a position from which he “retired” in 2001.
But Bill is hardly the retiring type and many people in the region have had Bill photograph them at a charity event over the years. His weekly “Party Lines” column continues in the print version of the Globe and on www.bostonglobe.com.
In his 50 years as a Boston photojournalist, Brett has photographed thousands of events and fundraisers, with his coverage helping to raise awareness for and bring donations to the many organizations whose events he has photographed. On June 1, 2014, he marked his 50th anniversary with the newspaper.
In 2005, Bill published his first book, Boston: All One Family, which featured the iconic photo of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and his two predecessors, Raymond Flynn and Kevin White. Bill followed that up with the release of Boston: An Extended Family. In 2008, his Boston: A Year in the Life: A Photographic Journey, took Bill to every neighborhood in Boston. For his fourth book, Boston: Inspirational Women, Bill partnered with his daughter Kerry Brett, who is a well-regarded portrait photographer in her own right. Boston: Irish is Bill’s fifth book; all of his titles feature the city and its people.
Bill and Carol Beggy, who has written the text for all of Bill’s books, shared the 2006 President’s Award from the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts for their work on Boston, All One Family. In 2009, Bill received an honorary degree from the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, where he took his only class in photography. And in January 2017, Bill was honored by the Jett Foundation for his support of the organization, which raises money for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and support for the families affected by the disease. Bill was presented with the honor by Jett Foundation Christine McSherry, who was ]featured in Boston: Inspirational Women.
Bill also won an Award of Excellence for Photography in the 27th annual creative competition of the Society for News Design, for his portrait of Stephan Ross at Boston’s Holocaust Memorial, which was featured in Boston: All One Family.
A longtime resident of Hingham, Bill and his wife, Ginnie, have four children and six grandchildren—with a seventh on the way.