December 1, 2013
Each year I go to
Bandon, Oregon to photograph. In most years the weather is exactly
right for my type of photography: sunny with scattered clouds. But on
my most recent trip the conditions were terrible...or so I thought.
The weather was mostly
foggy and in the past I'd have lamented my situation and waited for
better conditions. But recently I've found myself having a different
Instead of defining what
are good or bad conditions, I've been trying to see the great image
that can present itself in any condition. I believe that in every
situation, in every light and in every weather...the potential for a
great image exists. But to see it, I must first be open to the idea
of creating outside of my comfort zone.
Armed with this new
attitude and lots of foggy weather, I set out to discover what I
could find. "They Walk Among Us" (above) is one of those
Please enjoy and thank
you for your interest in my art, I appreciate it!
P.S. Here are two videos
that have inspired me since my last newsletter:
New Monolith Images
Monolith No. 68
Most of my portfolios
are started and finished very quickly, but I've been working on
"Monoliths" for five years now. And even though I've
walked the two mile stretch of Bandon Beach hundreds of times, I
still keep seeing new images.
This is my favorite new
Monolith image from my trip in October.
View the "Monolith" series, including
my six new additions.
Isolated No. 3
On this trip to Oregon
it felt like I spent the entire ten days in the fog, with little
respite. On my last day when I was driving back to Portland, I came
into a small valley where the sun suddenly appeared and offered up
In all, I came home with
eleven new images including a new "Lone Man" and one named
View all eleven of my new Oregon images.
The Rest of the Story Behind the Image
The Angel Gabriel
This is the Angel
Gabriel. I met him on the Newport Beach pier as he was eating
French Fries out of a trash can. He was homeless and
hungry. I asked him if he would help me with a photograph and
in return, I would buy him lunch.
The pier was very
crowded and I wanted to take a 30 second exposure so that everyone
would disappear except Gabriel. We tried a few shots and then
Gabriel wanted to hold his bible. The image worked and the
only people you can see besides Gabriel are those
"ghosts" who lingered long enough for the camera.
Gabriel and I then
went into a restaurant to share a meal; he ordered steak with
mushrooms and onions. When it came, he ate it with his
hands. I discovered he was Romanian and so am I, so we talked
about Romania. He was simple, kind and a pleasure to talk
I asked Gabriel how
I might contact him, in case I sold some of the photographs
and wanted to share the money with him. He said I should
give the money to someone who could really use it; that he
had everything that he needed.
Then the Angel
Gabriel walked away, content and carrying his only two possessions: a
Bible and a bed roll.
After I had
processed this image I was excited to show it to my mentor who was an
artist, a curator and a teacher of photography. She looked at it and
exclaimed "Never center the image!"
I was perplexed because her advice ran contrary to how I felt
about the image, how I had seen the image and how I had envisioned
it...but reluctantly I followed her advice because she was the
So I went home and cropped the image so that Gabriel was no
The transformed image was hideous and I immediately knew that my
vision of the image was the correct one.
This taught me a great lesson; people may be well intentioned,
have a degree in art or be an acknowledged expert...but there is one
subject they are not expert on...my Vision. I vowed that never
again would I ask for, or follow, another's advice regarding my
Creating the Angel Gabriel wasn't just a great personal
experience, it was also the turning point for both finding and
following my Vision. It was the first time that I trusted my
instincts over an "experts" and it was the last time that I
ever asked anyone for their opinion about my images.
This was one of the most valuable lessons I've ever learned and
I've been centering my images ever since!
winner of this month's drawing is Tamara
will receive a signed print of "Iceland No.
Please contact me so I can arrange to send you the print.
The next drawing will be
for a signed print of "Alphie" above.
For those of you new to
my newsletter drawings; simply email me at
Cole Thompson Photography