After an introductory course in high school in New England, Barry Thomson knew by the end of his senior year that he would be a photographer. Beyond that point he is essentially self-taught. Although he started by doing street photography, after purchasing a 4×5 view-camera when he was 21, he start traveling through the West, visiting Big Sur and Death Valley and hiking in the Sierras. However, it was the Grand Canyon, and later the Colorado Plateau that really captured his heart and imagination. He lived at the Canyon for three years and another five in Flagstaff , hiking extensively, falling in love with the wilderness areas of the Southwest and slowly acquiring photographic skills until, at age 29, he decided to devote himself exclusively to photography.
Even though he loved the immensity of Western spaces, Thomson returned to Vermont in his early 30’s to what is essentially a much more intimate environment. The change in the physical landscape proved pivotal in defining his photographic vision. In photographing “smaller” landscapes, the imagery also started to become more abstract, which subsequently led to an expanded idea of what constitutes a landscape. In his mid-30’s, Barry moved back to the Southwest – Taos, New Mexico; Moab, Utah; Page, Arizona; and eventually made his way back to Flagstaff. This time, when he hiked into the canyon areas, he brought the vision he had developed in New England.
Thomson considers himself a traditionalist, and he continues to work with film in 4×5 and 2 1/4 formats and hand-prints all his work in a darkroom. His work in featured in many private an public collections, such as Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ; Cornell Fine Arts Center, Winter Park, FL; Fleming Museum, Burlington, VT; Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, AZ; Sheldon Memorial Art Museum, Lincoln, NE; Spencer Art Museum, Lawrence, KS; and St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Art, FL.
Gelatin Silver Prints
These limited edition prints were all made in the darkroom by J. Barry Thomson in the traditional gelatin silver process from his large and medium-format negatives.