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Artist Profile: Kyle Thompson

10 July 2012 | 10:35 am | Emily Adams

Five minutes with Kyle Thompson.

Despite lacking any formal training in photography Kyle Thompson has certainly created a huge following, which can only mean his work is crafted on raw talent, though his use of camera technique tells a different story. Kyle's photographs do stem from somewhere.

“Francesca Woodman, she's who got me started with photography,” he explains. Despite the world saying otherwise Kyle believes his less than traditional path was exactly the right course to take. “I'm learning more by myself, taking photos every day, than I would in art school.”

Kyle Thompson is 20 and lives in Chicago, Illinois, and he burst onto the social media scene clogging up Facebook newsfeeds with his powerful images: “I started experimenting with photography over a year ago. My friend and I started going to abandoned houses and took photos with his parents camera.”

Little adventures into abandoned houses never seem to end well in films, so it's no surprise Thompson found a house that was less than comfortable to shoot in. “One had old guns all over and deer heads…” Fear of scary places doesn't stop this artist though because there's no way he can despise the places that inspire him. “I love the emptiness and how you can piece together how in the past people used to live. It's crazy how much you can learn about people from the ruins of their past homes.” Thompson certainly doesn't lack depth in his thoughts or photography; he skilfully pins down a sense of emptiness in every photo with vibrant, contrasting colour, eccentric ideas, simple ideas and a diverse use of exposure.

Spaces such as empty houses then have obviously been a huge influence in his work with an array of eerie rooms filled with a definite sense of quirky darkness, and even a balloon or 20? “I think they give a burst of colour to photos, and can represent playfulness, which can contrast with some dreary scenes.”

Thompson's photos look technically profound and are certainly well thought out before the click. “I often draw concepts beforehand. I go out as soon as I can capture the thought in a photo.” Such long concentration on conceptualising each unique idea must require some hearty sustenance but Thompson assures the opposite: “I usually don't eat breakfast, I wake up too late!” Who says champions need breakfast anyway?

You can view Kyle Thompson's 365 Day Project here.