MEET Greg James Thomson! Greg has evolved from landscape photography to capturing stories though portraits, live concert performances and events. He is an active member and supporter in the Orillia Arts Community, always with camera ready to document and promote local exhibitions and artists that he highlights on his facebook page Orillia Arts Scene.
Currently, his selected photography work is available at Art & Home Studio and he has a piece available in the Orillia Museum of Art & History's upcoming Sir Sam's Club Membership fundraiser.
READ ON to discover Greg's story and learn more about his work and photography services!
Describe your journey into photography and how has your practice evolved over the past few years?
In hindsight I've always enjoyed and been fascinated by photography. But my journey into photography began in 2013 when I bought my first DSLR for my Muskoka based property maintenance/inspection business. I needed to get detailed pictures to send to clients. Soon after I bought the camera I bought a wide-angle lens and found myself pulling off to the side of the roads in Muskoka because a landscape caught my eye. In September of 2014 I was working near Killbear Provincial Park and decided to head there with my camera after work and take some landscape shots. It had been raining all day but when I got to Killbear the sun broke through. I was running around the park, clicking on the "landscape" preset and one image caught my eye when editing. I found an online printing company with a 50% off sale and decided to order some large prints to use as Christmas gifts. I gave one to my niece and her husband for their home in Nunavut, and I gave one to my brother and his wife. My sister-in-law Lori posted a picture of it on Facebook and the response was quite positive. I soon found myself thinking about photography 24/7 and took pictures constantly.
In November of 2015 my father passed away and with the small inheritance I received I decided to upgrade to a professional grade camera and lenses. I also decided that, after 18 years in Muskoka, it was time to move back to my hometown of Orillia and pursue a career as a photographer. Since then I have evolved from a landscape photographer to a portrait photographer.
What plans do you have for your artistic practice in the future?
My future plans involve having a studio, again. I would love a place where I could have my gear, and design backdrops for concept photo shoots. I'm not a "PhotoShop" guy so I like to create the magic in-camera. I'd also like my own wall space to display my work. I love all aspects of photography but portrait work is quite fun. I'll see about weddings. From a gear standpoint, I need more....always.
What is/are your favourite subject(s) to photograph?
That's a really tough question! It's like picking a favourite child. My favourite images immerse the viewer. In landscape shots I try to incorporate the "golden ratio" and leave enough negative space to leave the viewer wanting more. With surf photos I include the wave because it's part of the story. In portraits I look for a 'look' that tells the story. With concert photos I want the viewer to feel like they're there. It's all about story, and letting the viewer feel it.
Any upcoming projects or events? How do people connect with you?
I recently wrapped up a project for Couchiching Jubilee House volunteering my photography services for their "Fearless Females" calendar. Currently I'm working on my own annual calendar of 2018 images. I did 30 days of long exposures in September, so I'm thinking of using some of those shots. I also recently got a paid job with Car Media 2.0 to photograph automobiles for marketing purposes.
My website is www.gjthomson.com, contact me via email, phone 705-645-8984, or connect with me through my Facebook Page gjthomsonphotography or on Instagram.
Bio: Greg James Thomson moved with his family just north of Orillia in 1970. His father Hugh sold a patent to Otaco and started working there. He graduated from Park Street Collegiate and Georgian College with a major in Business Marketing. In the early 1990’s Greg worked in the radio industry and eventually moved to the Muskoka area to help start-up the MooseFM chain of stations. Over the years, he has operated several successful businesses and continues to pursue the entrepreneurial spirit. Greg moved back to Orillia in 2016 to pursue photography work.
Much of your photography work and paintings resonate in a similar way - there is a microcosmic view there - are you drawn to abstraction and wee details? What inspires you?
My father taught me to appreciate details in nature, a Kildeer bird's nest on the ground, how the pattern of the eggs mimicked the earth and stones they lay on or the beautiful jewel of a Monarch butterfly chrysalis and watching it's transformation into a wondrous butterfly, or being awakened in the middle of the night when my father arrived home from work to take me outside to see the Aurora Borealis moving in the sky looking like ethereal curtains swaying to their own universal music. I guess you could say my brain was wired as a young child to appreciate the nuances of pattern and light. Of course photography is all about the light, but that's what intrigues me the most, every single day of our lives the light is never the same. Playing with that light, sometimes distorting it, smoothing it out, seeing the shapes it creates excites my brain, gives me those feel good endorphins and people do feel a response to the abstractions. I love when people tell me that they are much more aware of their surroundings because of my photos. I decided to try another artistic medium a couple of years ago so I've tried different forms of painting. Acrylic pour is just what it sounds like, the only control you have of the paint are the colours you use, the amount of paint and manipulation of the canvas to move the paint around. It was very freeing, not knowing how the abstract painting would look until it was dry.
When did you begin your photography journey?
My earliest memory of taking photographs was on a school trip at the age of nine, using an old box camera. Photography started to become a passion when I started working at a local photography studio in 1983 as front counter staff. I was taught picture framing as well as darkroom tasks, making black and white prints from photographic film. I bought my first SLR film camera at that time and from then on a camera was always within reach.
Where can we find your work?
I am currently a member of Tango Artspace at 5 Peter St. S. in the Orillia Arts District.. You can also see my work on Facebook or Instagram as Linda Plourde Creative.
What are you currently creating? What's on your studio table?
Well, my studio is my kitchen table where I'm now playing with resin, using it in painting and making jewellery as well as various objects and my drying/assembly studio is a table in the livingroom! I don't mind that my house has been taken over by art but I am starting to run out of room!
FIND Linda and her creative pursuits online here:
ALL artwork photos by Linda Plourde
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