cole Thompson Photography Newsletter
of Nude No. 191
I love photographing sand dunes and have visited a
number of different dunes around the country. Some are extremely isolated
while others are Disneyland-like in their popularity and
While none of my adventures have been particularly
dangerous, I have been tracked by coyotes, buzzed by F-16's and once
got lost in the desert.
I was on the dunes in White Sands, NM where just a
couple of years earlier a French couple and their 9 year old son were
hiking when they became lost. The husband and wife gave their water
to their son and as a result they died of dehydration. The boy barely
survived but was found. It was quite a tragedy and I wondered how
that possibly could have happened.
Fast forward to my visit to White Sands: I had
photographed on the dunes for several hours and then started to
head back, confident that I knew the way to my car. I had always been
pretty good at dead reckoning when I was scuba diving and so I felt
comfortable that I knew where I was at.
However, I could not find my way back.
After searching for a couple of hours and becoming
concerned that I would be spending the night on the dunes, I tried
calling the park rangers but my cell phone didn't have enough of a
signal. However it did have enough signal to get a text message to my
wife, and I asked her to call the park
rangers and have them come look for me.
They found me, but I sure felt stupid because I had been
very close to my car. I don't think I was in any real danger, but I
had made a series of unfortunate moves: I went out on my own, no one
knew I was there, I did not mark my location on my GPS and I didn't
bring any water. I hope that I have learned several good lessons from
That's about as exciting as it has gotten for me while
exploring the dunes. Mostly my time is spent quietly photographing
and enjoying the solitude. And even when I'm not photographing, I'll
just lie on the sand and enjoy the sun and the silence.
I recently spent three weeks in Death Valley and made a
number of trips to the Mesquite Dunes. I go to a place where there
are smaller dunes and where you rarely encounter people or
footprints. While there I created several new images, additions
to my "Dunes of Nude" series. You can see the new
images below and the entire portfolio here:
of Nude No. 212
of Nude No. 208
of Nude No. 194
of Nude No. 193
of Nude No. 192
of Nude No. 190
of Nude No. 187
of Nude No. 178
of Nude No. 176
Exhibition at Lincoln Gallery,
Sitting For Portrait
My "Moai, Sitting for
Portrait" series will be featured at the Lincoln Gallery in
Loveland, CO for the month of June with an opening reception on June
Here is the artist statement for this series:
January of 2015 I spent two weeks photographing the Moai of Easter Island. This fulfilled a lifelong
dream, one that started when I was 17 and read the book "Aku Aku" by Thor
Heyerdahl. I became fascinated with the Moai
and they have been on my mind and influenced my art for these many
I traveled to Easter Island and tried to imagine what I would
encounter, something interesting happened: I fell asleep and dreamt
that I had invited the Moai to come and sit
for a formal portrait.
I awoke I thought "why not?"
knew there would be challenges: the Moai
are reserved, aloof and almost unapproachable. They had suffered
greatly at the hands of outsiders and the question was: would they
come to trust me?
was the first hurdle to be overcome: the island is small by
automobile standards, but when we are talking about the Moai who walk everywhere, traversing the island
to get to my makeshift studio could be difficult. Then there was the Moai's physical condition: many were
incapacitated by war and the ravages of time and could not make the
journey. And how would I accommodate the size of the Moai, with some towering 33 feet tall?
these challenges and armed with nothing more than a dream and hope, I
issued the invitations...but would they come?
only a few came; the younger and less suspicious ones. But slowly, as
word spread of their experience, others started to arrive.
the Moai created some interesting
situations: one older Moai refused to allow
me to photograph his face and turned his back on the camera. Another
arrived with a hawk and insisted on having his portrait taken with
the bird atop his head. Several Moai with
bullet wounds, inflicted by outsiders, insisted that I document those
there were tense moments, as two rival Moai
came together face-to-face in the studio, but which ended well when
they agreed to be photographed together. And there were touching
moments as old friends were reunited after years of separation.
The Moai are quiet, stoic and
could even been described as "stone-faced." And it's true,
not once was I able to photograph a Moai
smiling, but instead they have a dignified poise that transcends
Here are the exhibition details:
The Lincoln Gallery, 429 N.
Lincoln Ave, Loveland, CO
Opening Reception: Friday, June 9th
from 6 - 9 pm
Artist Talk: Friday, June 9th at
If you are in the area, I hope to see you there!
The winner of the "Print of Your Choice" print drawing is
Lara Arnold! Please send me your mailing address so that I can mail
this off to you Lara.
The print to be given away for this newsletter is
"Run Aground" and which is my favorite image from my recent
Northern California Coast trip.