No second chance soon

Our art editor, Cynthia Close, recently spoke with David Thompson, Issue #10’s featured artist. Here’s what he had to say about his interest in photography and influences on his work.


When did you first realize you were interested in photography?

My dad was always taking pictures on vacations and family events, so photography seems very natural to me. When he let me take his camera with me when I went to study in Paris in 1978, I knew I was becoming a grown-up. Also, I traveled in Asia back in the 1980s and those were the first times that photography was a priority for me. Camera gear was still a bargain there back then, so that added to my interest and enthusiasm.


What is the biggest challenge for you as a photographer?

As with most photographers, trying to get a good shot when the light or the sky is not ideal can be tough, especially when I’m just traveling through and there’ll be no second chance soon. Sometimes the biggest challenge is just trying to find a place to pull my car off the road safely in order to take a photo.


How do you decide what will make an interesting photograph?

It’s strictly by instinct. I take photos of just about everything from broad landscapes to decals stuck on lampposts. I make and send my own postcards, so I’ll photograph anything I think will make an interesting postcard.


What artists/photographers/mentors have influenced your work?

I have been awed by and read about all the usuals – Walker Evans, Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson… I am a big fan of Robert Frank and also the FSA photographers, especially John Vachon.


You mentioned you were a great Chet Baker fan. What role does music play in your creative life?

My knowledge of music is so superficial that I don’t think it has a significant role. I admire the virtuosity of the great jazz musicians without really understanding it.


If you could go anywhere in the world to take photographs, where would you go?

India. No question. More realistically, I hope to get back to Spain soon.


What do you hope to achieve with your work?

I am grateful for any recognition I get. If I could find a way to get paid doing this, I would be very happy.


What are your current projects?

I’ve done a handful of road trips in the American South in the last six months. I hope I’m putting together a good collection of Southern photos. I think “the old South” is getting hard to find.


Where/how can people buy your original work?

Contact me at


David Thompson

David J. Thompson is a former prep school teacher and coach. He grew up in Hyde Park, New York, and most recently lived in the Detroit area. He has been traveling since October 2013. His poetry and photography have appeared in a number of journals both in print and on-line, and his latest poetry/photography chapbook, And Thou Upon Earth, is available from Nerve Cowboy in Austin, Texas. His interests include postcards, jazz, and minor league baseball.

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