10 minutes with Douglas Lyle Thompson

Interviews with Photographers June 10, 2011 10:32 am

Do you remember the first photo that you took and really loved?

Oh those weird high school days… Not only was it my first photo I loved, it was ironically the very first photo that I ever took!  It was when I was 17 and I had borrowed my dad’s Canon AE1. Not knowing what I was doing, I asked my friend Chris Brigham to climb up on a basketball hoop while holding his parent’s cello during sunset – it was more of an ironic joke than anything else – trying to be “weird” and take pictures of unusual scenarios. I was clueless and didn’t know how to use the camera’s light meter at the time so as it turned out my friend was silhouetted but it was one of those mistakes that was probably better than what I was originally going for. Unfortunately I have no idea where that film is. But after getting the film back, I was truly inspired and kept shooting everything around me. Another high school friend of mine’s dad (is?) was a well known still life food photographer in Orange County, California, and it was him who told me that I should go with my gut, take lots of pictures, and follow my dreams.

 

Douglas Lyle Thompson

Douglas Lyle Thompson

What do you love most about your job, and what surprises you most about being a photographer?

I love the respect. I love the friendships made from work. I love traveling for work. I love the support and the people I surround myself with and work with.

What surprises me most to this day is how some photographers get away with simply being business people, and shooting pictures solely for a job, rather than doing it for the love. Photography is my life, not just my career. I see people get burnt out from this type of work, and I’m happy to say that my love for photography has grown throughout the time I’ve been involved.

 

Douglas Lyle Thompson

Douglas Lyle Thompson

Douglas Lyle Thompson

What’s your typical day like, when you’re not at a shoot?

The day can change quickly, so it really depends. I have an office near my apartment in Brooklyn, as I’ve made an effort to keep my work space separate from my living space. So I’ll start the day with a early morning dog walk. Then head over to my office in Bushwick. I do all my printing over there and lots of work on the computer, constantly updating my website and keeping my blog up to date. I never take a day off, unless it’s “vacation.”

As my agent calls it, hustling, I just call it work – but lots of emailing and keeping in touch with previous and future clients, art buyers, art directors, photo editors and other relevant people. I also spend a lot of time at my agency’s office with my agent Lizzie talking about upcoming jobs and going over personal projects. I keep Lizzie very involved in my day to day events.

 

Douglas Lyle Thompson

Douglas Lyle Thompson

Douglas Lyle Thompson

Are you currently working on any personal projects?

I have a few personal projects, but mainly I have an one in which I’ve photographed every hotel/motel room I’ve stayed in for the past 9 years, near and far. I’ve also had a very personal picture blog since 2006 which is a fun personal historic project – taking pictures of what I’m up to, where I’ve been, what’s been going on in my life, my girlfriend, my dog, and my friends and family. As cliche as it sounds, I also have a “secret” project that I just started over the weekend that as time goes on, I’ll let people know what it is. I’m really excited to be shooting this project, and very proud to be apart of it.
(Douglas is based in New York City. See more of his work, here.)

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