cole thompson photography
classic images in black & white


cole thompson photography
classic images in black & white
August 17th, 2009
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Dear Cole,

How does one refine their eye? How do you see uniquely? How do you find your own vision? Must a person be born with artistic talent or can it be developed?

Not a day goes by that I don't wonder about the creative process. For most of my life I felt that I lacked artistic talent and so I pursued photography. I calculated that with photography, mastering the technical skills would compensate for my lack of creative ones.

And so for years I pursued technically perfect work and strove to imitate the look of photographers I admired, such as Ansel Adams. However, my work was imitative and it lacked spirit.

Then one day it hit me; there already was an Ansel Adams and nobody would ever do Ansel better than Ansel. And was that really the extent of my ambition, to copy someone else's work? I came to realize that I needed to create work that was uniquely mine.

This epiphany forced me to re-examine the assumption that I lacked creative ability, because if that were true I was consigned to being yet another Ansel imitator.

What I have come to believe is that we all have creative abilities, but for some like myself, it's just buried beneath a lot of other "stuff." Consequently, I must work harder to bring it out and develop those talents.

I think this is true for everyone, that each of us have a unique perspective and ability that can be developed. So if you've also pursued photography because you feared you had no talent, take heart, it's not true.


I just ran across a website called Spirit Clips, and they apparently produce their own inspirational videos. The one I am recommending this month is "The Hospital Window."

If you cannot properly see or read this newsletter, please view it online by clicking here.

Rock Study: A New Image
Rock Study

(Rock Study - La Jolla, CA - 2009)

I have always been drawn to dark images with strong contrasts.

This rock caught my eye as I was walking along the beach at La Jolla Cove, just south of the Children's Pool. It seemed so out of place.

View my new images

Ceiling Lamp, El Monte Grill
Ceiling Lamp, El Monte Grill

(Ceiling Lamp, El Monte Grill - Fort Collins, CO - 2009)

I keep encountering these wonderful ceiling lamps and have to add "just one more."

View the entire Ceiling Lamp series

Mason Swinging
Mason Swinging

(Mason Swinging - Twin Falls, ID - 2009)

This is my daughter Mason (who has a wonderfully big head from all of the photographs that have been published of her).

I've compiled a page of her images, in some cases you'd not even know it was her in the photograph.

View All of Mason's Images

Solitary Sunlit Hill
Solitary Sunlit Hill

(Solitary Sunlit Hill - Near Moab, UT - 2009)

This was created on the way to Moab, on a dark and stormy day.

View My Other New Images

Smile No. 11, Moab's Park Avenue

(Smile No. 11 - Moab, UT - 2009)

  • Ukrainians, With Eyes Shut" just closed at The Center for Fine Art Photography. This was an experiment of sorts, as I printed the images life size. It's amazing how different this work feels, when it's this large.
  • I just returned from Pittsburgh where "The Ghosts of Auschwitz and Birkenau" opened in the New Works Gallery at The Silver Eye Center for Photography. I received a warm welcome and was very pleased with how active the photographic community is in Pittsburgh. The exhibition will run through September 12th. Visit Silver Eye
  • Two of my images are on display at the MarinMOCA exhibition entitled "Dreams and Revelations." The exhibition runs through September 20th.
  • Three of my Ceiling Lamp images will be displayed in the "Abstraction" exhibition that opens on October 2nd at the Susan Maasch Gallery.
  • The August 2009 issue of "The Sun Magazine" featured eight of my images in a five page photo essay entitled "With Eyes Shut."
  • A close friend and French artist a (MoonlightNoir) created a wonderful new YouTube video of my work. If you have a few minutes, please rate the video and leave a comment. Watch the Video
  • Please visit my blog for a sometimes technical and sometimes philosophical discussion about my work and about photography.
    Visit the Blog

Parting Shots...
Mud Hills

(Mud Hills - Somewhere in Utah - 2009)

  • I've redesigned my website so that it's easier to navigate and with less clicking. Please let me know what you think.
  • I've added a page to my website entitled "New Images." It's a quick and easy way to see what's been recently added. View the New Images Page
  • I have a few test prints that I'd like to donate to a school photography program. If you know of any schools who might like these, please let me know.

Cole Thompson Photography

Phone: 970-218-9649

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