Allard's new book is both a stunning retrospective and a compellingly frank memoir of his unconventional life as a cosmopolitan photographer and writer Always in search of pictures that ask questions and tell stories, Allard masterfully captures beauty, mystery and a globe-trekker's love of the serendipitous. "Many of the pictures in this book were found along a road, in a bar, down a street," he says. "Often I wasn't looking for anything in particular...Just looking."

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Photographer and writer William Albert Allard has been a major force at National Geographic and in mainstream photography for almost 50 years. It is said that as an intern in 1964 his intimate photographs of the Amish of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, were regarded as a landmark in the photographic evolution of the magazine. A former contributor to Magnum Photos, Allard has been published in most of the major magazines in the United States and abroad. Allard is one of the few photographers of his generation whose entire professional body of work is in color.

In its January 2012 issue, National Geographic is featuring Bill's Montana Hi-Line story. In its October, 2010 issue, National Geographic magazine recognized Allard's work on the American West with a 10-page excerpt from his new book "William Albert Allard: Five Decades a retrospective," which examines his work in America but emphasizes his work done internationally over the years. Part photographic retrospective and part compelling memoir, this book paints a full picture—through images and narrative—of one of color photography's most celebrated pioneers. Allard's powerful voice as a writer adds layers of meaning to the images, 80 percent of which are previously unpublished.

Model waiting backstage, Paris, 1988