Calling Kyle Thompson’s work ‘selfies’ is almost blasphemous when you actually look at it. True he does use himself as the subject in the majority of his photos but they even transcend what you would consider a regular photo. His work can be better described as surrealist fine art. It’s as if Salvador Dali’s pieces were real places.

If you look at the black and white story of Kyle, it’s as if he shouldn’t be as good as he is. He’s young, from the suburbs near Chicago, has no formal training and only has been taking photos for the past year or so. No steady drug habit or life of pain and anguish in a remote part of the world but more so the kid from down the street. Growing up in suburbia was essential for Kyle’s work though. He use to explore when he was a kid because there really wasn’t much else going on. Illinois is flat and monotonous so the beautiful areas are hidden away in abandoned houses and empty forests. These hidden away places he found have become a large part of his work.

When it comes down to it though, it’s not the settings that are the magic in his work but rather the props, timing and emotional concept the photo is portraying. He does most of his work without assistance with a cannon 60d on a self timer. His use of fire, smoke, fabric and motion is all timed perfectly and sometimes even dangerous. What is also interesting is the guts he has to get the shot no matter what it takes. The forrest you see in a lot of his work is actually a public forrest so when he set up the shot of him in a river in a suit with red balloons all around him, people would be walking by and looking at him like he was a crazy. Not to mention setting himself on fire.

When artist start being artist a lot of them believe that they can shoot-from-the-hip and make amazing pieces. While Kyle seems like that guy that was born never to miss, he also has put a lot of work into becoming the photographer that he is becoming. “I’m always impressed by how much peoples photography improves during the course of a 365, and I think it would get me a lot of practice. ” When he was first starting out he wasn’t satisfied with the rate he was improving so he threw some gas on the fire. He decided to dedicate himself to creating one new piece a day for 365 days. Not only is this a technique all of us can use to improve our own skills but it’s also inspiring how he looks at himself as an artist. He is able to realize he is not finished becoming an artist and makes the effort to reach the next level instead of being satisfied and complacent.

Kyle Thompson is the perfect
example of how you don’t need the fanciest camera gear or the most expensive training in photography to be a great photographer (doesn’t hurt though). What you do need is creativity, perseverance and
some guts.

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