Dorthea Lange is quoted saying, “… that frame of mind that you need to make fine pictures of a very wonderful subject, you cannot do it by not being lost yourself.” Literally, this is how Thom shoots. He puts on his headphones and heads out onto the streets of Dublin, Paris, Shanghai, Zebulon, NC, or Yellville, Arkansas with no destination in mind other than to see what he can find.
Thom Goertel is a photographer and multimedia artist based outside of Washington, DC. Thom has worked across a range of media from animation, to video, to holography, but he uses photography for his personal work. Originally from North Dakota, his jobs and travels have taken him to all fifty states and a couple dozen countries.
Having lived in London, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, Goertel is at home taking pictures on the street, shooting at the edges of the day, early morning and late evening. To stay discrete, invisible and safe, he works with just a small pocket camera. All of his work is handheld; working at high ISOs and long exposures, he doesn’t carry any lenses, lights, or tripods. This is in contrast to his portrait work in the studio.
As he explores the light and shadows on his walks, themes began to appear. The settings are personal, moving beyond location-connecting the dots between memory, the mood the light, and the emotional baggage of the day. The resulting pictures are narrative fragments that translate a moment’s light and landscape, with the remembered, the imagined, and the perceived.
Thom’s work has won and number of awards is featured in solo, group, and juried shows in the US, and has been published in numerous periodicals including National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal.