Preston Lewis Thomas

Photographer
Born: 1961
Current Residence: Chicago, IL

I am a photographer, musician, and writer.

I make photographs of what surrounds me. I regularly slip between photojournalism, street, and fine art photography. I see no reason to declare allegiance to one or another. Something fabulous resides in the ordinary... it’s a wonderful thing to discover.

With every photograph my hope is to tell a story. Sometimes, my subjects are humans I encounter who are moved to share amusing anecdotes or full on emotionally exhausting experiences from days gone by. On occasion, my muse is an empty room that is, paradoxically, teeming with life. And, of course, there are those flower petals wrapt in the sensual morning dew that refuse to be ignored. I could go on, but we already know that the world looks very different to Artists.

My influences are many – photographers, musicians, painters, etc. Omnipresent driving forces include the work of Gordon Parks, Avedon, Van Der Zee, Warhol, Basquiat, Norman Lewis, Ansel Adams, the lyrics of Joni Mitchell, Bill T. Jones’ “A Good Man”, and my early and constant exposure to Verve album covers.

From placing brides in the middle of Chicago’s Wacker Drive during rush hour, to climbing the locked fences at the Modern Wing of the Art Institute with a young lady in a very elegant ball gown in tow, to a happenstance photo session with a gentleman who’d just arrived in Chicago after his discharge from The French Foreign Legion, to photographing Black Ballerinas leaping barefoot across the water in Crown Fountain, or 14 days in Cuba after losing my Mother to cancer…

Still hungry.

Things You May Find Interesting

  • 2017: Photographic Symposium at DuSable Museum of African American History: Dance Encounters Architecture

  • 2017: Photographs from my series Dance Encounters Architecture Licensed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects - lead architects of the Obama Library

  • 2017: Photo Exhibit: Wanderlust and Dreamland in La Habana 

  • 2017: Photo Exhibit: Through My Lens, a Black Girl’s Magic

  • 2017: Photo documentation for Make It With Menards

  • 2016: Recipient of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs (DCASE) Individual Artist Grant

  • 2015: Featured Artist in the Harlem Fine Arts Show “Beyond Color” Exhibit

  • 2015: Featured Artist for the Chicago Global Health Alliance Benefit Art Auction

  • 2014: Selected as one of the photographers for the Chicago Community Trust “On The Table” project

  • 2013: Several photographs licensed by MSNBC for a Chicago based Caught on Camera production

  • 2008: Several photographs from the Obama Election Night Rally in Chicago licensed by CNN