Ask Cole Thompson why he works in black and white, and he’ll offer the notion that it’s because he grew up in a black and white world. Television, movies and the news were all in black and white, as were the heroes he found in photography. The images he makes are an extension of that world. Color records the image, but black and white capture the feelings that lie beneath the surface.
As a young fine art photographer, Thompson’s hero was Ansel Adams, whom he once met. However, a career in business delayed his inevitable vocation in photography until 2004, when Thompson craved some creativity in what he considered his “boring business life,” and he picked up a camera once more.
This time he realized that rather than copying another’s work (no one could do Ansel better than Ansel), he would aspire to do more. This was a pivotal point that began Thompson’s pursuit of his own vision and the development of his individual style. He became intrigued by the dynamic of his subjects. Rather than merely recording their static object qualities, he focused his mind’s eye on their fluid action. He found that normal exposures, even at low ISO’s, were still too fast to record the time element necessary to capture the extended action.