Jennifer Thoreson, Photographer


Artist Biography

Long before capturing a photograph, Jennifer B. Thoreson enters into a process that includes fabricating abstract objects, arranging architectural spaces, and staging furnishings and models to create deeply personal and engaging pieces.

She lives and works in Albuquerque, NM, and plays many roles, including photographer, teacher, lecturer, and mother. Her work has been shown in collections both nationally and internationally.

The elements she displays in her images, which she caringly selects, creates, and rehabilitates, play as important a role in her art as the finished photographs themselves. Thoreson explains, “when I discover a mundane or unwanted object, bring it into my space, wash it, mend it, give it a careful purpose, bask it in light, and photograph it, I feel as though it has been born again. It is re-purposed.”

In a similar way, through her art, she invites the viewer into a process of self-renewal as she explores the intricacies of human relationships and the ways that brokenness can give way to redemption and healing.

Photograph by Mandarine Montgomery

Artist Review

by Rebekah Bellum

Jennifer B. Thoreson is a photographer and installation artist living and working in Albuquerque, NM. She creates pieces seemingly suspended in time – rife with emotion and the human condition, but paused. Her photographs appear to capture single moments of stillness within scenes otherwise fraught with tension, emotion, and vulnerability.

Through her work, Thoreson provides the audience with a glance into relatable, ordinary lives that have been imbued with unrecognizable, often otherworldly, abstractions. In the captured pause, she allows the viewer to place themselves within the scene, and to wonder if these abstractions might similarly represent their own pain, worry, brokenness, grief, longing, and hope.

She creates illustrations of the emotional, spiritual, interpersonal, and physical struggles and joys we experience over the course of our lives, showing us how these internal emotional outpourings, invisible to the human eye, might look if they were to physically manifest in the world.

Creating as much through her long physical process of sculpting and composing as through her meticulous final photographic capture, Thoreson sees her images as being “representations of quiet, ultra-still, delicate moments of raw humanness; the phase just after a laboring, aching fall and at the point when renewal inevitably begins.”

Her photographs are primarily composed of a palette of muted, neutral tones in which she includes careful selections of dark, saturated hues. She photographs her scenes using gentle washes of natural light. Her use of lighting points to the persistent hope brought by a new day, even in the darkest situations.

She frames her images into balanced, symmetrical, one-point perspective views, forcing the audience to confront the scene directly. In spaces that seem starkly familiar, she introduces the unknown through the relationships of the bodies to one another, the use of sculptural elements to exaggerate limbs and figures, and the creation of sculpted objects that seem to form living elements within the tableaus.

The scenes she composes bear similarities to theatrical sets and give the audience a glimpse into ongoing stories. Each piece of the composition is carefully selected and arranged, and is necessary to understand the narrative.

Each fabricated object validates and enriches an aspect of the stories or characters shown. Finally, each finished photograph invites the audience to examine the complexities of the figures portrayed through the lens of their own relationships, experiences, and perceptions.

She explains that “the sculptures, found objects, and installations are the heart of [her] process, and allow [her] work a voice and identity.” These carefully created sculptures and selected objects mark Thoreson’s work, and set a stage for the audience to question and examine the hidden realities of their own lives and relationships.