about

Egg in Glass, taken in 1968 at age 14

Egg in Glass, taken in 1968 at age 14

At 14 years of age, I knew I was destined to be a fine art photographer.While hiking in Rochester, NY I stumbled across the ruin of an old home that George Eastman had once owned. This piqued my interest and I read his biography. I was fascinated with photography and before I had completed the book, before I had even taken a photograph or seen a print develop in the darkroom, I knew that I was going to be a photographer. For the next 10 years photography was my complete existence, if I wasn’t taking pictures or working in the darkroom, I was reading every book and looking at every image I could find. There was nothing in my life but photography.

Even at this early age I found myself drawn to a particular style of image, one that would literally cause a physical reaction in me. They were dark images created by Adams, Weston, Bullock and others. I knew that I was destined to create such images.

Self Portrait at 20 Degrees - Washington DC - 2007

Self Portrait at 20 Degrees – Washington DC – 2007

I am often asked, “Why black and white?” I think it’s because I grew up in a black-and-white world. Television, movies and the news were all in black and white. My heroes were in black and white and even the nation was segregated into black and white. My images are an extension of the world in which I grew up.

For me color records the image, but black and white captures the feelings that lie beneath the surface.

My art has appeared in many exhibitions, publications and has received numerous awards. And yet my resume does not list those accomplishments, why?

In the past I’ve considered those accolades as the evidence of my success, but I now think differently. My success is no longer measured by the length of my resume, but rather by how I feel about the art that I create. While I do enjoy exhibiting, seeing my work published and meeting people who appreciate my art, this is an extra benefit of creating, but not success itself.

I believe that the best success is achieved internally, not externally.

Some have asked about my qualifications given my non-traditional resume and I answer: “My images are my qualifications, nothing else matters.”

Cole Thompson

 

LensWork Interview with Cole Thompson
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