Michael Thompson was born and raised in Washington State, where he was first introduced to photography at his father's small portrait studio. He spent his summers working with his father, then, after graduating from high school, he earned a degree from the Brooks Institute of Photography. Upon completing his schooling, Michael Thompson moved to New York City and began assisting the legendary photographer, Irving Penn.
Michael Thompson has since photographed models and celebrities for countless prestigious fashion magazines, including W, Details, Allure, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ and The New York Times Magazine.
Advertising clients are equally in demand for Michael Thompson's time. He has shot many campaigns including PDN Award winner “I Am African,” The Gap “Favorite Fit” jeans campaign, Jordache, Tumi, Tiffany & Co., DeBeers, Rosiblu, Emporio Armani, Celine, Oscar de la Renta, Jones New York, John Frieda, Clairol, and beauty campaigns such as M.A.C. Icon and M.A.C. Viva Glam, Clinique, Chanel, Covergirl, RMK, Kose Cosme Decorte, Prescriptives, Elizabeth Arden, L'Oreal, Aveda, Revlon, Almay, Neutrogena and Oil of Olay.
Michael has photographed numerous fragrance campaigns, including: Elizabeth Arden’s “Red Door,” “After Five,” “Mediterranean” & “Interlude,” M by Mariah Carey, Danielle by Danielle Steel and Believe by Britney Spears; Unforgivable by Sean John, Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle; JLo by Jennifer Lopez and Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker.
As an award-winning director of TV commercials, Michael has directed: Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker (a winner of the 2006 FiFi Award for Best National Advertising Campaign-Television), Tiffany’s Frank Gehry Collection and a PSA for The American Ballet Theatre.
Michael has published three books over the past decade. His first, “Michael Thompson: Images” (2005) is a compelling sequence of radiant images from his fashion spreads, portrait shoots, and personal projects. In 2010 he released his second book, Red Nude, limited to only 100 signed, numbered editions. In 2011 he released his third book, “Michael Thompson: Portraits,” a collection of his most famous celebrity portraiture spanning his illustrious 20-year career. The subjects include such A-listers as Cate Blanchett, Sting, Mariah Carey, Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julia Roberts, and Meryl Streep. Michael’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions in Tokyo and New York, and has been included in numerous group exhibitions worldwide.
Michael Thompson lives in Oregon with his wife Kelly and their two children.