William Wegman was born in 1943 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He received a BFA. in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston in 1965 and an MFA. in painting from the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana in 1967. From 1968 to 1970 he taught at the University of Wisconsin. In the fall of 1970 he moved to Southern California where he taught for one year at California State College, Long Beach. By the early 70s, Wegman's work was being exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. In addition to solo shows with Sonnabend Gallery in Paris and New York, Situation Gallery in London and Konrad Fisher Gallery in Dusseldorf , his work was included in such seminal exhibitions as "When Attitudes Become Form," and "Documenta V" and regularly featured in Interfunktionen, Artforum and Avalanche.
It was while he was in Long Beach that Wegman got his dog, Man Ray, with whom he began a long and fruitful collaboration. Man Ray, known in the art world and beyond for his endearing deadpan presence, became a central figure in Wegman's photographs and videotapes. In 1981, Man Ray died. It was not until 1986 that Wegman got a new dog, Fay Ray, and another collaboration began marked by Wegman's extensive use of the Polaroid 20 x 24 camera. With the birth of Fay's litter in 1989, Wegman's cast of grew to include Fay's offspring — Battina, Crooky and Chundo — and later, their offspring: Battina's son Chip in 1995, Chip's son Bobbin in 1999 and Candy and Bobbin's daughter Penny in 2004. Out of Wegman's involvement with this cast of characters grew a series of childrens' book inspired by the dogs' various acting abilities: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, ABC, Mother Goose, Farm Days, My Town, Surprise Party and Chip Wants a Dog (all Hyperion). Wegman has also published a number of books for adults including Man's Best Friend, Fashion Photographs and William Wegman 20 x 24 (all Abrams) and Fay and The New York Times Bestseller Puppies (both Hyperion).