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Thomas Carr

"A photograph is neither a history or a guidebook, and cannot tell us all of the human facts behind a landscape: yet it can suggest the deep use or hidden human past, behind what the print outwardly shows.”
- John Knowls
"I think that by concealing the shadowy aspects of life it is impossible to reveal deeply and fully what is beautiful in life. All the processes occurring in the world are born from the battle between old and new, between what has died and what is accumulating strength for life.”
- Andrei Tarkovsky (Russian filmmaker)
The Artist

My artwork is a synthesis of photography and archaeology. As a young photographer in the 1980s, I found myself drawn towards making images of places with subtle indications of a past human presence. This led to my pursuit of a career in archaeology, which has allowed me to visit many significant historic sites and associated landscapes. Having been trained in photography, I endeavor to document the essence of these places in visual terms. This sense of presence is what I seek in my photography, and I’ve applied this approach to a variety of projects over my 40 year career. I have two major types of portfolios - unaltered film-based photography focusing on the concept of place, as well as more impressionistic/abstract work that draws from my film and digital images dealing with the concepts of time, space, and emotion. My artistic influences include photographers Eugene Atget, Clarence John Laughlin, Linda Connor, Edward Weston, Diane Arbus, Paul Caponigro, Fay Godwin, and Francesca Woodman; as well as filmmakers Ingmar Bergman, Werner Herzog, Akira Kurosawa, and Andrei Tarkovsky.  My photography has been shown in numerous juried, group, and solo exhibitions over the last 40 plus years, and has received a number of awards and honors with numerous invited solo exhibitions at major cultural institutions such as the Center of Southwest Studies in Durango, University of Denver Museum of Anthropology, Farmington Museum, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Museum, Ute Indian Museum, Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Denver Public Library Western Art Gallery, Littleton Town Hall Arts Center; as well as invited group shows at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo, Mizel Museum, Durango Arts Center, Arvada Center, Open Shutter Gallery, and finally dozens of juried exhibitions. My filmmaking work has been recognized with screenings at film festivals in the USA, Belgium, and France. I have also lectured extensively on the history of photography, archaeology, visual ethnography, and historic preservation at professional conferences and public symposiums across the country over the last 30 plus years.  I have been a member of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center since 2001, and in 2021 I became a member of Photo Pensato, a collective of photographers. In 2023 I was honored to be accepted as an associate member at Pirate Contemporary Art, one of Denver oldest and highly respected art cooperatives.  


My most recent project is titled The Archaeology of Light, and it reflects my explorations as an archaeologist and photographer over the past decade. I believe there are places that exist in a liminal state between the real and the imagined - where human and natural environments blend. Where time ebbs and flows without conventional order. I believe that cultural places hold emotions and memories, and it has been my experience that if you look and listen carefully, you can see, hear, and feel them. Similarly, all things absorb and reflect light throughout their lifetime. The energy of light affects and informs all matter, and manifests as visible and hidden layers of substance, texture, and tone. In my mind’s eye I perceive these liminal places as portals that are covered in a veil, and if peeled away, you can see what is, what was, and what might be. By conducting this “Archaeology of Light”, these veiled places are shown to be subtle and frail, with decay and rebirth all around. The images in this series range from subtle to overt and reflect the idea that our connection to multiple planes of existence in time and space can fluctuate, and our ability to see across or through those planes changes how we perceive them. An insightful article about my current work was recently featured on the Curious Photos Blog published by the Pictura Gallery at the FAR Center for Contemporary Arts. Curios Photos Blog Link:


- Thomas Carr 2023

Contact Info:


Instagram: @thomas_carr_photography


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