tom quinn kumpf

Unlike the painter who begins with a blank white canvas, the photographer strives to eliminate the non-essential elements of a scene from the final image. Through light, substance, and composition, we must select and shape reality in such a way that the eye is drawn to the subjective point of the print. The approach is intentional, a highly selective, discriminating, subtractive process.

There is nothing haphazard in what I photograph. I do what I do on purpose. For me, photography is more than a craft, a means of expression, and certainly more than just a hobby. It feeds me, provides balance, and takes up an essential part of every day of my life.

Looking back over forty years of shooting, I see my life as more than just an interesting journey. Our world is full of paradoxes, contradictions, and absurdities. Yet it continues, changes constantly, and because of this, I see, the shutter clicks, and occasionally something of strength, beauty, and understanding is created. It is this process, the participation, that provides the passion that fuels me. With my art, as with my life, emphasis is placed on the pure and simple, the directness of living.


Tom Quinn Kumpf grew up in a predominantly Irish, working-class neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served with the U.S. Navy in Vietnam and has since worked as a photojournalist in other conflict areas of the world. He is an internationally recognized, award-winning photographer, writer, and poet whose work has appeared in news publications and in exhibitions throughout the U.S., Europe, and the former USSR.

In response to his Irish roots, Tom went to Northern Ireland to document the effects of “The Troubles” on the children there. The award-winning book, Children of Belfast, is his collection of essays and photographs that document the lives of the children he encountered on both sides of The Peace Line. His second book, Ireland: Standing Stones to Stormont, focuses on Irish identity as it relates to Irish history, myth, and the ancient landscape. He is also recognized for being one of the only journalists in recent time to take a serious look at the “Fairy Faith” as it exists in Ireland today. Shot in both color and B&W, the book has won several major awards for writing as well as photography, including the Benjamin Franklin Book Award for best travel essay of 2004.

Today, Tom works primarily in documentary, fine-art, travel, and portrait photography, teaches individuals and group photo workshops, serves as a consultant for photo projects and exhibitions, and acts as a storyteller at Irish festivals in the U.S. His fine-art prints are represented by a number of galleries and agencies while a stock photo library of more than 10,000 photographs provides images to media outlets, businesses, corporations, and individuals worldwide. He is a year-round resident of El Rito and is currently working on a book series made up of portraits he has taken during his forty-year career.

PO Box 335
72A Private Dr 1685
El Rito, NM 87530

Contact Tom; 303-859-5347