The "Unofficial Photographer" of Charlestown Honored by Residents' Council

Jim Thompson known for his trusty camera, generous spirit

He's never taken a course on photography.  And besides the owner's manual that comes with a new camera, he's never read a book on the subject, either. But with one glimpse of his photos on display at Charlestown, residents and staff certainly recognize the beauty of his work. Jim Thompson, the "unofficial photographer" of Charlestown, was honored on August 8th by the Charlestown Residents' Council. Jean Corley, a member of the Residents' Council, recently expressed what many residents have said through the years:  "People here have respect and admiration for Jim because of who he is, absolutely giving and unselfish with his time and talent.  And he's very creative, possessing the eye of an artist to capture that one extraordinary shot." With his beloved wife, Connie, he moved to Charlestown in September, 2000.  The former mathematician with the National Security Agency never expected to take on the role of photographer.  But based on his past, it's not surprising. "I always enjoyed photography, and I ended up taking photos at events for my immediate neighbors in Colesville, where Connie and I lived," described Mr. Thompson.  "At Charlestown, it started with the first 9/11 commemoration ceremony and then the twentieth anniversary celebration." And it continues with projects such as The Charlestonian, the resident directory distributed earlier this year.  "I'd estimate that ninety-eight percent of the event photos in the directory are pictures taken by Jim over the past five years," stated Mary Evans, Senior Community Resources Manager.  "He embodies the spirit of sharing his gifts in celebrating life at Charlestown." Mr. Thompson estimates that he has taken 40,000 photos of life at Charlestown.  Technological advances contribute to this extraordinary number. "Digital photography allows me the advantage of seeing what I've taken immediately," said Mr. Thompson, who owns a Nikon DX 35mm digital camera.  "As opposed to buying film, I can also take as many photos as I want at no additional cost."  Mr. Thompson uses his computer to save, categorize and enhance his work with a variety of photo-editing software programs. Why is it a labor of love for Mr. Thompson?  "I am intrigued by the activities at Charlestown and our wonderful seasonal scenery.  I love the beauty of nature, and our campus is blessed with it, like the swans at the lake." Photography is a hobby for all ages, and Mr. Thompson offered advice for beginners.  "Buy yourself a good digital camera, experiment with the settings and read the manuals.  But above all else...enjoy!" Excerpt from the Proclamation by the Charlestown Residents' Council to Jim Thompson: "...be it resolved by us, the members of the Residents' Council, on behalf of all the residents of Charlestown, to express our appreciation and gratitude to Jim for all his efforts on our behalf throughout the years past and to wish him and Connie many years to come of continued contributions to the welfare of the community."