The faces of Langara and the photographer who brought them together: Thorsten Gohl

A collage of Langara College students, staff and faculty.

Professional photo-imaging student, Thorsten Gohl,  took over 1,700 pictures of staff, faculty and students during the Welcome to Langara days in September.  The project was comissioned by the school’s financial aid department to bolster school spirit and embrace the new face of Langara College.

“People got really creative,” said Gohl, who took pictures of the voluntary models who used orange boas, orange hats and inflatable orange guitars to express themselves in front of the camera.

Gohl has now compiled 333 of these photos into a collage. A large poster of the assembled images will hang outside the financial aid offices until Mar. 9.

The Photographer

Gohl is in his final semester of the professional photo-imaging program, but his path to Langara College and a career in photography has not been direct.

A pre-opening shot of What a Drag; a fall 2010 performance by Langara's Studio 58.

Born in Germany, Gohl spent his first six years in Nigeria before moving back. He lived in Belgium after high school and got his master’s degree in computer science.

Gohl didn’t buy his first camera until 2007. After he quit his job as an IT manager in Brussels, he traveled across India, the U.S. and Canada to find himself. During his travels Gohl started to take pictures.

The one year anniversary of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Now, at 32, Gohl says he still hasn’t found himself completely but he has found his calling. “I want to change the world,” said Gohl. “I want to make the world a better place, and photography can do that.” Gohl compared photography to music and food, “You don’t need anything else to connect with people… everyone understands it.”

A fine art image of Langara Studio 58 student Stephanie Elgersma.

Gohl often thinks of his childhood dream: to live in every single country for a year. He now realizes this is not possible, but Gohl still wants to travel as much as he can, take photographs, and use Vancouver as a home base. Living this type of lifstyle would be natural for him. Gohl can speak four languages fluently and can get by with a handful of others. However, he thinks photography is the most important of his languages because it connects people without the need for words.

Whitecaps play a home game against Puerto Rico in Oct. 2010.

“I really enjoy being in the present moment,” said Gohl, “and photography is in the present moment.” These days Gohl takes his camera everywhere he goes and takes at least one picture every day to keep his skills sharp.

His Work

Even though he is still a student, Gohl finds the time to work with various individuals and organizations to build his portfolio and his professional network. Here are just a few highlights from Gohl’s resume:

  • Partnership photographer for the Whitecaps FC.
  • Animal photographer for the BC SPCA
  • Did a 3 week internship in New York with Peter Hurley; the best headshot photographer in North America (Gohl was offered a partnership at the end of his internship but turned it down to stay in school).
  • Works with Langara College on various projects including photography for the athletics departmet, S.O.S., Studio 58, and the international education volunteer program.

All this, and Gohl shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In the future he hopes to work more with film.

All images By THORSTEN GOHL published here with his permission.

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