Did I Lose Something?

Did I lose something?

It was there before, but now it’s gone.

Where did it go?

Will it be back?

Two years ago I stood in the lobby of a hotel in Akron, Ohio and looked up.  I saw saw a ceiling lamp, but it was more than that, it appeared to me as abstract shape that inspired me to create my Ceiling Lamps portfolio. The image above was that first lamp.

Now fast forward; three weeks ago I was back in Akron and staying at that very same hotel.  Upon checking out I thought about that lamp and looked up.  The lamp was still there, but to my surprise I could no longer “see” it, it just looked like an ordinary lamp to me.  I thought to myself; I wonder why that lamp inspired me before?

That really kind of scared me, why didn’t it look special any more?  What had I lost and could I get it back?

And what if I were walking down the street today and passed “The Angel Gabriel,” would he inspire me to stop?  If I were to stumble across that “Old Car Interior” again, would it interest me enough to photograph it?

This experience reinforces two personal beliefs that I have: first to always stop because you may not “see” that inspiration later and second, you can keep going back to the same location over and over and over and still “see” something new.  Seeing a great image has more to do with our creative mood, than with the location.

I’ll be back in Akron next year and I’ll be very curious see how I’ll “see” this lamp!


12 Responses to “Did I Lose Something?”

  • Slavomir D. Says:


    That is a great post, and something I have observed in my own photography. I think as we move in life, a lot of things change and we respond differently to situations we encounter. First encounters may always be more powerful, but that is not to say that ones that follow will not be important.


  • Jeff Says:

    Hi Cole:
    A very good point. The challenge is getting ourselves to take advantage of such moments. As Slavomir pointed out most,if not all of us have the same experience. The difference is do we recognize the moment and will we take advantage of it? Creativity is sometimes a moment of instantaneous response or vision and sometimes premeditated.

  • Chet Chylinski Says:


    You make a wonderful comment on the fleetingness of a moment in our lives, and the impression it can make… We each view the world in our own unique way, and respond, some times, because at that moment, it was simply meant to be… I call that “Good Karma”… and have thought about what you were saying often…

    Thanks for putting your thoughts on paper for me to reflect upon too, as I view my own work…

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving…


  • Lynda Says:

    Thanks Cole. I know I have ignored some of those inspirational moments, perhaps because it was inconvenient or thinking I would return to the site. A great reminder to embrace the moment in photography as well as in life.

  • Matt Says:

    That is the great thing about photography, we can stop, preserve, THAT moment in time forever. As photographers we have the ability to show people what we saw and felt at THAT moment. There have been many times I have kicked myself after the fact for not making an image of a certain place, thing, person. But there have also been times when I have gone back to a place that I have photographed many times before and found new and exciting images. I think, for me, it has to do with my mind set. There are days when I see images with out even trying and there other days when I have to work hard for mediocre at best pictures. Perhaps next time you are in Akron you will see a whole new light (pun intended)


  • Cole Thompson Says:

    Great points everyone. I’ve been thinking the last few days that I’ve almost certainly missed some great shots either because I didn’t walk down “that ravine” or up “that mountain” or perhaps did, but wasn’t “seeing” that day. The question that remains unanswered for me is, what do I do about it?

  • Matt Says:

    Nothing! Be happy for the great images that you have created not down because of What you might have missed. If your mind is always pondering what could have been you will not be able to see what can be. You have not lost it. That curiosity and wonderment that made you so excited when you saw that first lamp is still there.


  • Cole Says:

    Matt, I think you’re right. It’s all about half-full versus half-empty.


  • Piet Osefius Says:

    Hello Cole,

    I’m very inspired by your photography. I added your great photoblog to my website, I hope you don’t mind.


  • Cole Says:

    Thank you Piet, I very much appreciate your adding me to your site.

    And thank you for your comments.

  • Roberta Annicks Says:

    As a writer, I get a line of text or song title and say – “Go write it down.” How many times do we NOT write it down and it just slips away. Your wonderful photo here & story remind me again, “Go write it down.” But more than that, revere the moment when it comes to an image.
    ~ R

  • Cole Thompson Says:

    For a photographer you must take the image when it presents itself, otherwise it will not be there when you return. The light will have changed or your inspiration might have changed and you cannot see it anymore.

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