Jun 14 2017

Photographer travels the world to capture black-and-white images

Photographer travels the world to capture black-and-white images

Cole Thompson work on display at Lincoln Gallery in June
By Kenneth Jessen
For the Reporter-Herald
POSTED: 06/14/2017 10:04:18 AM MDT

 

Photographer Cole Thompson enjoys the creative process. His “Moai Sitting for Portraits,” shot on Easter Island, will be on display for the month of June at the Lincoln Gallery. (KENNETH JESSEN / Loveland Reporter-Herald)

Read the full article here: 

http://www.reporterherald.com/news/ci_31061836/photographer-travels-world-capture-black-and-white-images

Cole

P.S. My thanks to Ken for such a nice article!

P.P.S. My special thanks for Ken for getting me to smile, I NEVER smile in photographs!

 


May 14 2017

Moai, Sitting for Portrait – Exhibition at the Lincoln Gallery

 

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 9th. 

Here is the artist statement for this series:

In 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 years.

As 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. 

When I awoke I thought “why not?” 

I 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? 

Distance 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? 

Facing these challenges and armed with nothing more than a dream and hope, I issued the invitations…but would they come?

Initially only a few came; the younger and less suspicious ones. But slowly, as word spread of their experience, others started to arrive.

Photographing 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 scars.

And 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 time.

 

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 6:30 pm

If you are in the area, I hope to see you there!

Cole

 


May 8 2015

Different Is Not My Goal

2015-1-1 Ahu Tahai 2d

When I photograph, I do not seek to create images that are “different” from everyone else’s, I don’t calculate how to create unique images and I don’t research what others are doing and then react.

Different is not my goal.

Instead, my objective is to produce work that comes from my Vision and that is honest and original to me.

2015-1-1 Moai at Rano Raraku No 2 - Final 2-20-2015 1000

My work is all that I focus on and have control over. As my mother used to say: what others are doing is none of your business!

When I went to Easter Island the only photographs that I had ever seen were the 1950’s documentary images contained in Thor Heyerdahl’s book “Aku Aku.” I never looked at anyone else’s images for two reasons; first I didn’t want to subconsciously copy someone else and secondly I didn’t want to consciously try to be different from someone else.

My goal, as much as it was humanly possible, was to work in a creative vacuum. I wanted to see the Moai through my Vision and find my own Passion.  

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 7 - Final 3-5-2015 1000

Are my Easter Island images unique? I may never know the answer to that as long as I practice Photographic Celibacy and do not look at other photographer’s work.

And to tell you the truth, I don’t want to know. I love my images and am content with the knowledge that they were created honestly through my Vision.

Cole


Mar 6 2015

Moai, Sitting for Portrait

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 2 - Final 3-5-2015 1000

 

In 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 years.

As I traveled to Easter Island and tried to imagine what I would encounter, something interesting happened: I dreamt that I had invited the Moai to come and sit for a formal portrait.

When I awoke I thought “why not?”

I 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?

Distance 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?

Facing these challenges and armed with nothing more than a dream and hope, I issued the invitations…but would they come?

Initially only a few came; the younger and less suspicious ones. But slowly, as word spread of their experience, others started to arrive.

Photographing 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 holes inflicted by outsiders insisted that I document those scars.

And 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 time.

 

See the entire series here

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 38 - Final 3-5-2015 1000

 

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 31 - Final 3-5-2015 1000

 

 

 

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 27 - Final 3-5-2015 1000

 

 

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 25 - Final 3-5-2015 1000

 

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 19 - Final 2-20-2015 1000

 

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 17 - Final 3-5-2015 1000

 

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 7 - Final 3-5-2015 1000

 

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 4 - Final 3-5-2015 1000

 

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 1 - Final 1-20-2015 1000


Feb 20 2015

2/20/2015 Newsletter, Moai at Rano Raraku

2015-1-1 Moai at Rano Raraku No 4 - Final 2-20-2015 1000

This newsletter focuses on the quarry at Rano Raraku, the birthplace of the Moai.

It is amazing to think about how these mighty works of art were created, as you see 45 foot behemoths partially carved out of the stone in the quarry.

But more interesting to me is why everything suddenly stopped. What happened to these great people to cause them to walk away from dozens of partially completed Moai?  And why were all the Moai toppled? 

I have no answers, only images.

View the newsletter or sign up here: http://www.colethompsonphotography.com/Newsletter.htm

Cole


Feb 13 2015

2/13/2015 Newsletter, Moai Standing

2015-1-1 Ahu Anakena No 2 - Final 2-12-2015 1000

 

I’ve just published my latest newsletter which has the first of three sets of images from Easter Island. The first group are “Moai Standing.”

The other two groups will be released via my newsletter over the next two weeks.

If you’re not signed up for my newsletter, you can do so here: 

http://www.colethompsonphotography.com/Newsletter.htm

Thanks!

Cole

P.S. It’s Friday the 13th!

 


Jan 16 2015

You shoot a lot, you hope a little and you’re grateful to get just one or two.

Harbinger No. 22g
Harbinger No. 22 – Tongariki

I’m back from Easter Island and have begun working on the several thousand images I shot. Many were very long exposures and that gave me lots of time to think, and one thought that I had was:

You shoot a lot, you hope a little and you’re grateful to get just one or two.

And that’s the truth: I shot a lot of images and while I’m hoping for several good ones, I’ll be grateful to get just a few. It’s funny how when you’re viewing images in the field every one looks like a killer, but the reality is that the public will only see about 1 out of every 250 images that I shoot. 

And while it’s important to create great images, it’s almost equally as important to only show the good ones!

~~~

I’ll be presenting my work to the Alpenglow Camera Club in Granby, Colorado on Wednesday, February 4th.

My presentation is entitled “Why Black and White?” and we will be meeting at the Granby Public Library at 7 pm.

If you’re in the area, I’d love to meet you!

Cole


Dec 26 2014

Easter Island – Excited and Nervous

2011-9-10 Monolith No 33 - Final 5-3-2014 1000Monolith No. 33

 

I’m heading out for Easter Island Sunday morning and I’m both excited nervous.

Excited because I’ve wanted to visit Easter Island ever since I was 17 and read the book Aku Aku by Thor Heyerdahl. It really captured my imagination and I would dream of the Moai and those unknown peoples who created them. Going to Easter Island has long been a dream of mine.

But I’m also nervous because when I go on a trip like this I worry that I’ll come home empty handed and not meet people’s expectations. And each time someone says “I can’t wait to see what you get!” I become even more apprehensive.

And the more apprehensive I get, the more pressure I put on myself. And the more pressure I put on myself, the less creative I am because I’m focused on what others expect and not my own Vision.

So here’s what I have learned to do, to minimize that apprehension and maximize my creativity:

First: I remind myself that I’m visiting one of the most exciting places on earth and a top destination on my bucket-list. That alone is enough to make this a successful trip, no matter what.

Second: I tell myself that if I create just one image that I love, I’ll be happy.

Moai

Third: I will not look at anyone elses work from Easter Island. I do not want to have any preconceived ideas of what I should create.

Fourth: I’ll spend a lot of time alone contemplating the Moai. I am confident that if I can relax and spend time with them, my Vision will appear.

And Fifth: I will keep reminding myself that I am creating for myself and I’ll put out of my head any internal or external expectations.

What I have learned is that worrying is not only ineffective, it’s actually harmful to my creative process. I just need to relax, enjoy the trip and have faith that something will come to me. 

See you in a few weeks!

Cole