"I had not intended to photograph during my tour of the camps but after being there a few minutes, I felt compelled. With every step I wondered about the people whose feet had walked in exactly the same footsteps. I wondered if their spirits still lingered there today.
And so I photographed ghosts."
January 27, 2013 2:00pm Special presentation by Photographer Cole Thompson
At 14 years of age, I knew that I was destined to be a fine art photographer.
While living in Rochester, NY, I stumbled across an old building associated with George Eastman, which led to my reading of his biography. Before I even completed the book, I knew that I was going to be a photographer and for the next 10 years, photography was my complete existence. If I wasn’t taking pictures or in the darkroom, I would spend countless hours looking at every book and image I could find. There was nothing in my life except 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.
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.
An important early influence in my life and my art was the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of Circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.