Rob Thompson

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Artist Statement

Born in Rochdale, Lancashire in 1970, I spent the first 18 years of my life living in an urban environment on a council estate but having direct access to the West Pennines. This environment has had a heavy influence on my pictorial development simply because I have a love for both the urban and the rural. I moved to London in 1988 to study Electronic Engineering at Kings College, London University and have remained in the engineering environment and London for my entire career.

I have been fascinated with cameras and picture taking since I was a child with my first experiments with B&W at the age of 14. Up until last year I had always approached photography from a hobbyist point of view but recognised that my compositional techniques were limited without having any formal education in photography or the arts. To this end I commenced a distance learning course with the Open College of Arts in late 2002. Over the time I have been pursuing the course I have noticed a considerable improvement in my work, developing my own style and focusing on specific subject interests. I have had work exhibited within OCA environments and won a highly commended award in April 2003.

My work tends to focus on identifying common scenes, objects or subject matter and making it ‘uncommon’ in order to bring out it’s unique qualities. Many of the images are taken on the spur of the moment, particularly in natural and urban environments where my own sense of isolation can help me focus on the unique elements of the subject or scene. Often images are staged using unnatural lighting and additional props to accentuate the qualities I am focussing on. Frequently the props are used to create a sense of presence from mankind without actually using people directly as subject matter. Consequently my images often have a lonely quality about them.

I am currently working on a year long photographic project involving secretly capturing images of people travelling on the London Underground. The purpose of the project is to explore how people choose to create and take comfort in a self imposed solitary environment given the very claustrophobic and often unpleasant surroundings.


Rob Thompson

the Open College of Arts : photography course

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