cole thompson photography
Issue 113 - April 18, 2020
Beauty in Death No. 6

In this newsletter:

  • My "Why Black and White?" recorded presentation is now available on NPN

  • New "The Story Behind the Image" audio recordings now available

  • Article: "Just. Let. Go."

  • New YouTube video (corrected link!)

  • Where you can see me next...hopefully...

  • Print Drawing

Will 2020 become known as "the lost year?"

And when we look back, will we see any difference in the images created during this year?


When money enters in, - then, for a price, I become a liar, - and a good one I can be whether with pencil or subtle lighting or viewpoint. I hate it all, but (with it) so do I support not only my family, but my own work..

Thank you for reading my newsletter!

Presentation: Why Black and White?
I was born into a black and white world
Well, we had some technical difficulties with Zoom last month and not everyone could see or hear my presentation.

I have re-recorded it and it's now available on the Nature Photographers Network, but this time with perfect sound and video.

To view it, sign up for the Nature Photographers Network.

Once logged in, you can watch the video here:
Audio: The Story Behind the Image
Trees from a Train

I've just released two new audio recordings for 'The Story Behind the Image" series:

I now have 21 recorded stories on how some of my favorite images were created. For example:

Would you like to hear the story of The Angel Gabriel again?

Want to hear how the Ghosts of Auschwitz-Birkenau series came about?

Have you ever heard the funny argument that came about because of this image?

How did an iPhone save this shot from the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg Russia?

Why did this image have me waiting for 12 hours?

How did my car get destroyed in Iceland?
Just. Let. Go.
Picasso said "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

I believe we all start life with our Vision fully intact and guiding us. We start off young, innocent and we've not yet learned to conform or to please others. 

For example: as a child when we painted, we painted how we liked things. Perhaps we had red skies, purple horses, blue didn't matter how the world actually was, we painted it the way we saw it, the way we imagined it or just the way we liked it. 

But then someone frowned at our painting and said "skies are not supposed to be red" and then to make things worse, they gave Sally a big smile and a pat on the head because she had painted her skies blue.

We got the message: conform and be accepted, conform to earn praise, conform and you will be happy!

We were quick learners and so we began to conform, and the more we conformed, the more our Vision receded. The more we sought to please others, the less we sought to please ourselves...until one day our Vision disappeared.

And not only did we lose our Vision, we forgot that we had ever once had one.

When I started photographing at age 14, I had a Vision. But as I started to conform, to please others, to care what other's thought (I call these Vision blockers) my Vision receded.

Eventually my Vision lenses got so dark that my Vision was completely blocked.

Perfect Vision.
Pleasing others.
Caring what other people think.
Following the rules.
Trying to win and earn likes.
As I sought to "find" my Vision some 35 years later, I realized that I had to start focusing on what I wanted and not what others expected of me. I believed that if I could remove my Vision blockers, I could find my Vision. 

What I needed to do was Just. Let. Go.

Let go of caring what others thought. 

Let go of conforming. 

Let go of following the rules. 

Let go of worrying if others would like my work. 

Let go of trying to win competitions. 

Let go of getting likes. 

Let go of photographing "the right way."

Let go of trying to please others. 

Let go of other's expectations. 

Let go of my fear of criticism. 

Let go of everything.

Vision is what’s left when you remove all of your fears and insecurities, when you stop complying and conforming, when you ignore what others are doing and you pursue what you love. 

Once you don't care what anyone else thinks about your work, you're free to do whatever you want; to ignore the expert's advice, to flaunt convention, to photograph the "wrong way" and to pursue whatever you love.

Not caring is a wonderfully liberating feeling, and for me it was the moment my work started to change for the better

To find your Vision and to change your work for the better: Just. Let. Go.
New YouTube Video: Dunes of Nude

Last newsletter I added a "Dunes of Nude" YouTube video link.

But I used the wrong link! Here's the right one:
Where You Can See Me Next...I think...I hope...
Isolated No. 22

Here's where I'll be speaking...I think...I hope!

  • 7/2/2020 I'll be presenting to the Vail Valley Art Guild in Eagle, CO.

  • 7/23/2020 Speaking at the Camera Club of Bozeman, MT: "Why Black and White?"

  • 7/24/2020 Workshop at The Camera Club of Bozeman, MT: "How I Found and Followed My Vision."

  • 7/31/2020 - 8/8/2020 I'll be on Maui and would love to present to a group while I'm there. Anyone in Maui belong to a group that would be interested?

  • 10/10/2020 I'll be speaking to the Alpine Camera Club in Montrose, CO.

  • 10/22/2020 Presenting "Why Black and White" at the Southwest Missouri Camera Club in Springfield, MO.

  • 10/23/2020 - 1/25/2020 I'll be speaking and doing a workshop for the Professional Photographers of Canada at their annual event in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

  • 12/9/2020 I'll be presenting to the Olde Town Photographic Society in Arvada, CO.

  • 1/20/2021 - 1/24/2021 A workshop with "Out of Chicago" in Death Valley. When the date gets closer, contact Out of Chicago here:

  • 4/10/2021 the Light and Creativity Workshop in Harrisburg, PA

  • 4/14/2021 I'll be presenting to the Princeton Photography Club in...wait for it...Princeton!

  • 4/21/2021 Speaking at the Essex Photo Club in Caldwell, NJ. "Why Black and White" (and why Vision is the only thing that matters)

  • New Zealand??? I'm hoping to make it back for the annual conference for the Photographic Society of New Zealand.

If you know of a group that would like to have me speak, please have them email me at:

Print Drawing
Pick any print that you want from my website

The winner of my last drawing is Tom Gibbons w ho will be receiving a print of the Road to Nowhere No. 4.

Congratulations Tom! Please contact me and arrange for your print to be delivered.
For this month's print drawing, you can choose any image from my website. To enter: send an email to and put "Pick My Own Print" in the subject line.

Thanks for entering!