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Willi Hans Koesters In Retrospect: 40 Years of Images


Willi H. Koesters was born in Neusharrel, Germany and immigrated to Louisville as a young child. He was raised in a Catholic family with three sisters and a brother. He attended Trinity High School in Louisville, KY and graduated from Western Kentucky University. 

Willi developed a love and talent for photography in his young adult years; continuing to hone his skill the rest of his life. Willi’s subject matter included still life, human interest, photo journalism, portraiture, and product photography, however, his greatest love was photographing nature, particularly landscapes. His styles ran from lifestyle to documentary to traditional posed and on to artistic.  He was particularly fond of the infrared technique to produce other-worldly landscapes. He was also a fan of the Ansel Adams black and white technique, using this skill to win several photography awards, including the Water Tower Annual and the Kentucky State Fair photo contests.

Willi was very aware of getting the proper light in his outdoor shots, often waiting for hours in one spot, or returning to the same spot multiple times, to get just the right amount of light. He was also concerned with getting the right “sky” in his shots, again waiting for long periods of times to obtain just the right amount of clouds or appealing sky color.

Willi married Lucy Koesters in 1988 and the couple had three children, Nick, Andrea and Gray. The family spent many vacations in nature locations including beaches, state parks, the great lakes, and national parks. Many of Willi’s beautiful landscape photos came out of these trips. Willi passed away in April of 2020, and left behind a wealth of inspiring images – many of which have never been on display until now. 

Family Statement


When Willi passed in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, no funeral or celebration of life was allowed. As the family worked through downsizing, they came upon hundreds, if not thousands, of images Willi took over the years, many of which had never been shared with the family. It took hours and hours of dedicated work sifting through these images to curate this show into the nineteen color and black and white images you see here today.

From his life as a young artist in college, to his career as a studio photographer, all the way to his time as a recreational photographer documenting family trips and milestones, each decade of Willi’s life as an artist is represented in this show. With a heavy focus on the beauty of nature, this show allows the viewer to see life through Willi’s eyes, one full of intention, tranquility, and wonder. Through the curatorial lens of two of his children, Andrea and Gray, this show captures several of his most iconic works. 

The family would like to express their profound appreciation to the Bourne-Schweitzer Gallery for hosting this show, State Film Lab for the beautiful printing, and Willi’s sister, Helen Rosenbaum of Norman’s Glass and Picture Framing for the custom framing work. 

To purchase a framed piece, please contact Julie Schweitzer at (502)-649-3320 for more information on pricing and shipping.

We would like to thank you for joining us in celebrating Willi’s life. We hope you enjoy this show. 

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