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When did you start taking photographs and why?

I have been actively taking photographs since the early 2000’s, but my first memory of taking a photo that was not a family photo or just messing around was when I was 12. My father and I were on a road trip to visit a few places in Alberta, Canada, and for me partly to buy a minidisc player in Calgary, they had less tax there. I had a plastic 35mm camera – translucent teal with skateboarding stickers all over the fucking thing. I took a photo from the middle of a long, flat road that ended at a ’T’ and a sign that indicated two towns in either direction, something I had never seen before having been raised in a very mountainous area. I guess I have always been interested in things that I haven’t seen before, they always strike me and remind me that there are countless new experiences to be had.

A quote about photography that you appreciate?

A photographer I once worked for put it best “As pissy as people can get about doing photography, shut the fuck up, you get to take photos for a living.” Something along those lines. Also, “Don’t worry about what other people are shooting, just shoot what you want, that’s the only way to differentiate yourself.”  Two quotes. Same guy.

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Do you usually plan what to shoot in colour and what in black and white? Which do you prefer and why?

For a while, I would shoot colour film in the mornings or evenings, and black and white in mid day. I find black and white is more forgiving in the midday light, while colour always gives me a hard time during the middle of the day. Regardless of colour or black and white, the light usually dictates how I use the end product. Film can be a tricky medium, the relationship between the quality of light and the subject working well is usually the catalyst in what makes my photos work or not.

What is a good portrait?

Hmmm. Hard to say, I often find myself wanting to photograph portraits of interesting faces and people I encounter, but they usually end up lacking in some sort of connection. If I don’t have some sort of emotional connection to a photo I have taken it doesn’t usually see the light of day, good or bad. What ends up working for me is a context, showing people in some sort of environment feels much more natural to me, I think it gives the viewer something to investigate and build whatever story they please. I usually end up taking only two to three photos, probably less, the more time I spend on a portrait the more awkward the subject tend to get.

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Do you have a sketchbook or any other kind of creative journal? Can we see it?

I do, but it more and more comes in the form of the ‘Notes’ app on my phone. I try and remember moments or locations that I like, and then just forget about them, only to refer to them way down the line, it’s fairly entertaining to try and decode the one sentence ideas that pop into my head. It goes something like this: “Old lady sawing branches”, “Hitchhiker Pomeranian”, “Dirt bikers fire”, “Yer throats dead toast”, stuff to that effect. I never do anything with these, but they usually remind me of something and give me a good laugh. I love to draw, I’ll show you sometime. It’s not good.

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Where do you find inspiration, which photographers or magazines do you follow or appreciate?

As per the last question, most of my content comes from things I see in real life, the whole “truth is stranger than fiction” thing comes into play in my life quite a bit, and I tend to keep an eye out for it. I totally appreciate all kinds of photography, but I kind of avoid getting my inspiration from other photographers, there is so much amazing work out there, and so much work to envy and drool over. I appreciate any photography that shows me something about the person who is taking it, and there is so much amazing work coming out right now doing just that.

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What is ‘everyday life’?

People ask about this a lot, I can’t think of a pattern, but I’m sure it’s in there somewhere. I try and remain in contact with people all the time, so much so that it can get in the way of everyday life. I can always push away my responsibilities in the name of going to meet with friends or checking out something or somewhere I haven’t been to or seen yet. I’m usually game.

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You can see more of his work at www.ericthompson.ca