cole thompson photography
Issue 121 - October 7, 2022
View from Kihei
My Friend!
In this issue:

  • Inspirational Quotes

  • Studio Tour October 22 - 23

  • Rising Tide Photography Summit

  • Images Since Covid

  • The Story Within “The Story Behind the Image

  • John Barclay Part. 2

  • Print Drawing

Some of my favorite inspirational quotes:

"Some people believe the purpose of art is to please an audience. I think the primary purpose of art should be for the artist to express themselves, and then if they're really lucky, they also please an audience. But if your first objective is to please the audience, then the artist risks pleasing no one, especially themselves."

Cole Thompson

"Art deteriorates when it is done for the audience."

James Pierce

"Just because no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist."


"Art is to console those who are broken by life."

Vincent Van Gogh

"If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all."


"Art begins where words end..."

Edward Weston

“Art is what you can get away with.”

Andy Warhol

"The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before."

Neil Gaiman

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."

Scott Adams

"Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little."


"If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint."

Edward Hopper

"Every morning when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy —the joy of being Salvador Dalí— and I ask myself in rapture: What wonderful things is this Salvador Dalí going to accomplish today?"

Salvador Dalí

Fort Collins Studio Tour - 10/22 and 10/23

It's been a few years since I've opened my home up for the Fort Collins Studio Tour. I hope people are ready to get out, socialize and look at art again. I recently gave my first in-person presentation since the pandemic, and only four people came out! I worry that the pandemic has permanently changed how we socialize.

This year I will be showing my "Negative Intersections" work and I'm pretty excited about that! But I‘m sad that only a small number of you will be in able to attend here in Colorado.

Here are the details for the Studio Tour:

Date: Saturday 10/22 and Sunday 10/23

Time: Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm.

Where: Mourning Dove Ranch, 4780 Totonka Trl, Laporte, CO

I live in a somewhat remote location. If you use Google Maps, then you will find me, if you use another map program, maybe not!

If you get lost, please call me at 970-21 9649.
You’re invited to the
Rising Tide Photography Summit!

Have you heard about the Rising Tide Photography Summit? My friend Angel McNall is organizing this landscape photography event and has brought together 20 great landscape photographers to instruct and inspire . . . including myself and my arch nemesis, John Barclay!

And we have a free ticket for you.

From Angel:

A Rising Tide lifts all ships, right? That's why we're giving you our most valuable tips and insight on how to improve your photography, find your unique voice as an artist, and how to make images with impact. 

Several of the guests will also be giving advice and helping you learn how to sell more prints if that's a goal for you! 

This Summit is for anyone who wants to improve their landscape photography, and it's free, so I hope you'll register TODAY! 

Click Here for more details and to reserve your spot: 

See you there! 

Images Created During Covid
Beauty in Death No. 8
I was feeling pretty bad, for not having been more productive during Covid. I generally felt that those were two lost years for me, photographically.

But as I compiled these images, images created during Covid, I realized that I had been more productive than I thought.

I don't feel so bad now, but I still feel like I should have created more.
Harbinger No. 41
Light Poles No. 3
Lone Horse
Powerlines No. 25
Ship Rock
Light Poles
Isolated No. 25
Clouds Over Death Valley
Death Valley Fun
Death Valley Moonset
Death Valley Dunes No. 306
Dunes of Nude No. 310
Lone Man No. 75
Chamorro No. 4
Isolated No. 27
Grain Silos No. 90
Powerlines No. 51
Stovepipe Wells' Ravens
Three Crows
Road to Nowhere No. 11
Powerlines No. 49
Hotel Room No. 1
Death Valley Windstorm
Grain Silo No. 92
Road Dust
Isolated No. 29
Light Poles No. 2
The Story Within “The Story Behind the Image
Auschwitz No. 4

You may have heard the story of how I came to create the series “The Ghosts of Auschwitz-Birkenau,” but there’s another story within the story: the story of Auschwitz No. 4.

My family and I were vacationing in Kraków, Poland and we had a free day. As we discussed what we should do, I was hoping the others would not want to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau, because I really did not want to go to a “death camp.“

But the family outvoted me and so off we went.

As we took a tour bus to the camps, I thought about where we were going. I thought that if there were a sacred place on earth, this surely must be one of them, and so I decided that I would not photograph there. I thought it might be sacrilegious, or at least disrespectful.

And so as we got off the bus, I asked the driver if I could leave my gear on board, but he replied, no, he would not be responsible for it. And so I began the tour, with gear in hand.

The tour was impactful and within 15 minutes I became so overwhelmed by what I saw, that I excused myself and went outside to catch my breath. Standing alone and staring down at my feet, I began to think about those who had stood where I stood, and were now dead. I thought about those who had walked where I was walking, on their way to the gas chamber.

Then I began to wonder if their spirits still lingered at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and then this thought just came into my mind: I needed to photograph their ghosts.

And so I did.

That is how “The Ghosts of Auschwitz-Birkenau“ series came to be. And now for the other story: the story behind Auschwitz No. 4.

I had a Vision of how I wanted these images to look; dark images with light contrasting ghosts. To create these, I would set my tripod at a location, and using a long exposure, I would transform the camp’s visitors into ghosts.

It would take between two and ten exposures exposures to get one final image. That’s because after each shot, I’d examine the image to ensure that everyone had kept moving and had fully “ghosted.“ If there were any “living” people in the image (that’s how I refer to non-ghosted people), then I took another shot, and another and another, until I got it right.

I did this because my Vision for the series only included ghosts, and not living people.

But when I exposed Auschwitz No. 4 and looked at the screen, I saw that one individual had stood perfectly still, leaving him as a living soul surrounded by ghosts. Normally, I would have discarded this image and created another, but something about it struck me, and I knew that I was going to keep it in the series.

This image holds a certain meaning for me: what I see is a visitor at the camp who is completely surrounded by, and completely unaware of, ghosts.

I love this image (it’s my second favorite in the series) and it’s the only one of the 15 that includes a “living“ person.

When I show my work, I rarely explain what an image means to me. I don’t want to color the viewers perception or interpretation with my views, rather I want to hear what the image means to them.

Sometimes when I show this image, I’ll ask a person to tell me what they see. I’m surprised at how many different interpretations I've heard. And what has surprised me the most, is that very few people interpret this image as I have.

What was your interpretation and did it differ from mime?

John Barclay, Part 2
John Barclay
For those who read my last newsletter, you‘ll recall that I wrote an article about John Barclay. Well, apparently he was offended at my candor and reciprocated by writing a mean-spirited article about me in his newsletter.

But I took the high road and did not respond in kind. I even turned the other cheek and looked for the best in John (using a high-powered microscope)

Then, I saw that John was doing these short video clips on Instagram. They were pretty good, but he was wearing this silly hat and I just could not take him seriously in that thing!

And so being John’s friend, I made a delicate and carefully constructed comment: John, that hat makes you look STUPID!

I suggested that if he must wear a hat, it should be one that makes him look more intelligent, and offered this example:

And yet again, he gets mad at me! 

Now I see that he’s doing cookie reviews on Instagram: (cookie review link

My first reaction was: John! What are you doing talking about cookies and not photography? And then it hit me: he knows a great deal more about cookies than he knows about photography!

I think John could use an ego boost, so that he feels better about his photography. I need your help to increase the number of his newsletter subscribers to such a huge number, that it will blow his mind!

Can you help by subscribing to his newsletter? My goal is to get John up to 100 subscribers, and we only need about 90 more!

I know this would really make him feel better. 

P.S. John was just informed that three of his images have been accepted into the new LensWork book entitled “Trilogies.” Congratulations John!
Print Drawing
Grain Silo No. 93

The winner of my last print drawing is Greg Tkachyk who will be receiving a print of "Isolated No. 21."

Congratulations Greg! Please contact me and arrange for your print to be delivered.
For this month's print drawing, I'll be giving away "Grain Silo No. 93" (above).

To enter: send an email to and put "Grain Silo" in the subject line.

Thanks for entering!