Jennifer Thoreson, Photographer


My work hinges on the orchestration and intricate arrangement of an idea. Sensitive, thoughtfully placed parts are finely woven together to comprise the final score. I liken my process to the long, reedy, single tone. It is a relentless search for flawless balance and intonation, and is sympathetic to the dissonance. It is somber and dark, delicate, and genuine. Greatly, it is an act of self-investigation, disclosure, and reconciliation.

I incessantly probe into sensitive areas. I’m curious about how relationships survive, why they dissolve, how people love one another, and how such love is expressed. I am interested in how faith is formed and why it fails. I like to know and feel the moment where people fall apart, and saturate my photographs in it. I want to push at a breaking point, and hold out hope for restoration.

I was raised in a methodical, spiritual home, for which I am very grateful. My faith is the engine and generator inside me. It is the core of my heart and my process, and the looking glass through which I experience the world. I am interested in Biblical language, scripture, traditional liturgy and how it translates visually. I am attentive to sacraments such as Baptism, Communion, Marriage, and the Anointing of the Sick, and often include very literal symbols and references in my photographs. The incomprehensibility of faith confounds me. I want to understand the various methods in which people find their center, or their truth. I am ardently curious about my own faith, it’s evolution, it’s intricacy, and how it influences my daily life and decision-making. The skeleton beneath the flesh of all my work is the belief of salvation, death and resurrection, redemption, and reconciliation.

Primarily, I engage in the use of insignificant, obsolete, or unwanted objects and freighted, symbolic materials. I have found the discovery and accumulation of these items to be therapeutic. I believe that a once-loved object somehow holds on to a bit of the life of those who loved it. I attempt to humanize these objects, offering them a second life, and a resurrection. 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. I often physically connect these objects to human figures in the photographs, creating relationships, recalling ideals, memories, regrets. Sometimes I sculpt the objects into human forms, infusing them with identity and individuality. I wish for the sculptures to be almost touchable, corporeal, and earnest.

My desire is to make beautiful, fleshy, lavish confessions, to build monuments with my hands, then reduce them down, and confine them with the single point perspective of the camera. I want to be the composer, conductor, and the performer. I imagine writing a symphony with all the glorious instruments, building it up with all the harmonies and pulsating rhythms, and then boiling it down to a single, dark reedy tone…with perfect intonation.