Joseph F. Thompson Artist Statement
I am a photographer who wants to record everyone's life story. I take photographs to better understand the reality of my subjects, to identify with their hidden qualities, to capture images of the world around me, and to express myself. I have admired and learned much from studying the great photographers of the past such as Larry Sultan, Stephen Shore, Cindy Sherman, and Alberto Korda. My current project is called "A Day in a Life". I plan to document through photographs an individual daily routine of one person's life. I will photograph that person's daily routine from early morning wake up until the time they go to bed. I find the individual moments in life to be very interesting - they can tell a powerful story.
I hold all lives as meaningful, as a tale of a path followed. Everyone has a memoir that should be celebrated, I aim to help others focus on the individual humanity that surrounds us all. Life has taught me that individuals come from very diverse backgrounds and each has a unique story. Their individual life stories need to be told and documented with my photographs. I want to use my photography and modern social media skills to get their stories out to the world.
I believe people viewing my photographs will see the humanity of ordinary lives. Over the last four years, I have focused my photography on various stages in one’s life. I have documented family gatherings, birthdays, individual grief in the time of COVID-19, individuals suffering in hospitals, and family gathering at funerals. Through my photographs, everyone will see we all have more in common with each other, and the more we know each other, the stronger our diverse community will become.
I have admired the photographer Stephen Shore, and I have collected several books on his life and photography. His book, “Stephen Shore: Selected Works 1973 – 1981” is my guiding light in my photography. I want to follow in his footsteps and continue to add to the canon of documenting the ordinary lives of individuals. I find deep personal joy in viewing his photographs capturing individual lives, living their daily routines, and the spaces in which they live their lives.
I do not measure my success in solely monetary terms. I plan to measure my success in individual sales, publishing printed articles about individuals in local newspapers, published book sales, and the number of YouTube hits of videos on individual biographies. I want this project to be seen by as many people as possible online, as well as individuals reading my self-published book in libraries, local museums, book clubs, local galleries, and in their personal libraries.
I have had a lifetime love for the fine arts and photography. After retiring from a thirty-eight-year career as a civil servant and U.S. Army officer, I have devoted my life to my artistic interests. I believe every individual life is important. All lives have meaning. I need to document this and show my photographs to the world. Life has taught me that individuals come from very diverse backgrounds and each has a unique story. I want to document their stories with my photographs and short videos. I want to use my photography and modern social media skills to get their stories out to the world. Also, thousands of men and women are “unsung heroes” who live and work in the Northern Virginia area. Their individual personal stories need to be told and documented for the world to see. I believe the more we know each other, the stronger our diverse community will become.