I joined this site in 2005. It seemed just a convenient way of swapping some photos of a recent trip to France I'd done with some students and colleagues. My interest in photography was really limited to taking snaps of friends and family and of various things I'd seen while travelling.

Since then, little by little, I've made contacts with other people on Flickr and I've become more and more interested in the photographs I've seen them taking.

Henri Cartier-Bresson apparently said that you should expect your first 10,000 photos to be terrible. In this digital age, I'm upping that total to at least 30,000. Until then I'm a rank amateur. But at least I now regard photography as something worth doing for its own sake, and I find it a real relief from the otherwise wordy life I lead as an academic.

I teach religious history and a lot of the photos on this site I take because I think they might be useful in my work or the work of others teaching in similar areas. That explains the preference for quantity over quality!

I chose the the flickr name "Nick in exsilio" because I was living and working in the UK, far from home in New Zealand. Although I'm deeply Europhile and have enjoyed living in the middle of the remains of the subjects I teach, I developed a kind of mid-life homing instinct, and will be taking up a new job in Auckland from July 2009. I'm looking forward to new photographic subjects, but hope to return to Europe as often as I can in future.

As a good proportion of the photos will suggest, I have an amateurish interest in the medieval pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Since 1997, I've walked about 2000 km of these. I did all 741 km of Camino Frances in Spain in 1997, then all but the last 100 km of the Chemin du Puy in the summers of 2003 and 2004 (my foot gave out). In the summer of 2007 I started on the Chemin de Vézelay in France and in July 2008 I walked the Via Tolosana from Arles to Toulouse. For the last three years I've also done a few days on a part of the route with friends from Aberdeen at the end of the spring half-session.

A few teachers, lecturers, and non-profit institutions like museums, art galleries and universities have asked if they can use photos for classes, guide books etc. I'm delighted for them to do so. If you feel like it, email me, because I'm always interested to hear how other people are using images in their work, but it's not compulsory.

However, in the extremely unlikely event that you wish to use the photos to make pots of money, I might ask you to make a modest donation to some charity.

Photos of Nick in exsilio (2)

  • tilt by Katie Quinney
  • Self-portrait by Nick in exsilio

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Nick Thompson
June 2005
Dunedin, New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand
I am:
Lecturer in Church History