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The 505 - Sally Thomson

Sally Thomson


1. Where did you grow up, and how did you come to live in New Mexico?
I grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, attended the University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State University, School of Design.  After graduating with a master’s in landscape architecture, I lived and worked in a variety of places along the east coast before making my west.  I discovered New Mexico while on a cross- country road trip with my family, and fell in love with the wide-open landscapes, sunshine, and culture. It took many years of coming and going before moving here permanently about 10 years ago.
Sally Thomson
2. What lessons has photography taught you?
While I took several photography courses in college, I am mostly a self-taught photographer. Many of the “lessons” I learned in the field of design are applicable to photography, however. It takes so much patience and persistence to be a good photographer.  The act of capturing an image may take only 1/60 of a second, but to have the patience, preparation, and determination, to be there at that exact moment could take years, a lifetime even!  I’ve also learned, particularly from photography, to be flexible and expect the unexpected. Rarely, it seems, do things go exactly as planned. 
3.  What has most influenced you, or your photography?

I could never have a single answer to this question.  There have been many influences inspired by reading, travel, memory, music, and art. If I have to pin it down, I would say - early on, the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe for showing me a new way to see, Dorothea Lange for her compassionate images, Bresson for his impeccable timing, and National Geographic photographers like William Albert Allard, for bringing the world closer.  The list goes on, and it is always evolving. 
Sally Thomson
4.  Do you have passions or talents outside your work?

I am a passionate traveler, a pretty decent gardener, and love hiking in the Sandia’s, across the road from my house, when I get the chance. 
Sally Thomson
5.  If you could photograph anyone who would it be and why?  What camera would you use? 

I have always been fascinated by the role natural landscapes and cultural forces play in the expression of place – especially those that have been able to retain their culture despite globalization and other pressures. These are the places, and people I like to photograph.  As for the camera, I am a Nikon shooter, currently using the D800.