Scottsbluff native Bill Frakes is sharing his passion for his home state through a newly launched website.
Now a resident of Jacksonville, Florida, Frakes has worked in 138 countries and every U.S. state, but his heart has never left the scenic, wide open prairies of Nebraska. On Dec. 1., Frakes launched his new website called “The Nebraska Project” to show how beautiful the state of Nebraska truly is.
“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” Frakes said. “I was born in Scottsbluff, grew up in the Panhandle and I have a lot of family there too. I wanted to honor the place I love and show it to the world.”
Frakes’ roots run deep in the state as a fifth-generation Nebraskan. As a world-renowned photographer and videographer, he has graced the pages of Sports Illustrated with his images and won several awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. Frakes said his first published photograph was in the Star-Herald and he loves to come home and photograph Nebraska since, in his opinion, it’s the best state to photograph. Over the past year, Frakes has worked hard on building the website. In that time, he has gathered all of his photos and videos that he has taken over the years and compiled them to show the best of what Nebraska has to offer for residents and visitors alike.
“This is Nebraska. It’s home, it matters. It’s the middle of nowhere but the center of everywhere,” he said.
As the website grows, Frakes plans to include more of his archived photos and videos on the website. He is also looking forward to highlighting the 150th anniversary of Nebraska statehood in 2017. Frakes said with the proper funding, the website will continue to grow and those willing to donate can do so in any amount through the website.
The state of Nebraska has always given Frakes a true feeling of home. Frakes said everywhere he travels to, he often meets Nebraskans who share the same fond thoughts and the yearning to come home.
“I love Nebraska. It’s a wonderful place and I feel safe and calm there,” he said. “Growing up in Scottsbluff, I was in a complete absence of fear. I grew up in a place where everyone was nice and friendly.”
Even if people he knows haven’t even stepped foot into the state, Frakes can take them there through his work.
“I love the slow, broad smiles that come across my friends’ faces when I bring them to Nebraska, either physically or through my images,” he said.
Overall, Frakes hopes to provide an educational, cultural resource for everyone who visits to enjoy.
Nebraska is where Frakes turns for inspiration no matter where he is and hopes people enjoy the website since he has already put thousands of hours into it.
Frakes said he travels a lot in his line of work and hopes to continue sharing his home state with the world through his new website.
“I have worked all over the world and I have many homes,” he said. “This is my first home and most likely my last one. This is where my spirit and my soul lives.”