By Loop Images Magazine
Life as a Photographer – Steve Thornton
What is your photography story – how did you get to be where you are now?
It’s been a ‘yo yo’ ride. Feast or famine. Still is in fact! My grandad let me use his camera when I was about 10 to photograph our family picnics. I still remember taking them. Childhood has so many influences on what you see as a photographer in later years. It comes out in your style. It’s what you see quicker than other subjects, and are more in control when shooting them.
Having spent most of my life earning a living in the commercial world, my main focus now is personal projects. I have 2 running at the moment. One is called Fish Town, which I started 30 years ago. I have now revived this project and am making a new exhibition, book, and fine art print sales titled; FISH TOWN. The EU years. 1990 to 2020. The other is a project called 4SQ Miles. Both of these are published on this website. I have others in production too.
Which photographers influenced you and how?
There are too many good photographers out there to name anyone in particular.
How would you describe your personal style?
I think my home page says it all!
What motivates you to continue working aside from your economic needs?
I love making images, working on personal projects. It’s like a drug. If I’ve not produced anything ‘photographic’ every day, I feel the days have not been fulfilled.
What is your strategy when approaching something you need to shoot?
Preparation and planning will make a good shoot production 90% of the time. The last 10% is what you give it on the day. And, that bit of luck will make great images.
How and where do you find inspiration?
How has having a digital workflow changed the way you shoot?
Digital cameras haven’t changed the way I shoot at all. Editing is a dream though! No wet darkroom can achieve the print perfection that a digital workflow like; Phocus, Capture One or Photoshop can produce. I use medium format nowadays so, actually shooting is the same as the old days. I shoot all my personal projects now on film; Hasselblad’s & Linhof’s. 6×6, 6×7, and 5×4. Film has a ‘feel’ to it that digital just does not have… For clients who require digital, I use Hasselblad digital cameras.
Briefly, what is your workflow?
Get up, walk the dog, breakfast, days work, walk the dog, dinner, bed, repeat…
What tech do you take with you when you travel?
Depends on the assignment. Little or loads. Lighting is the main issue. It’s ok if it’s a UK shoot, as it’ll all go in a truck. On foreign trips, I’ll have to hire what lighting I need in advance.
What is your favorite picture you’ve taken, and why?
The last one…
What would be your dream photographic project?
A sponsored worldwide project. I have a couple in mind that have legs.
What advice would you give anyone entering the industry in 2020?
Forget it if you want to be rich & famous. Find out who you are, what you’re passionate about, and shoot it. Keep shooting it and more. Eventually, the reward will come!
Lynsey Addario; It’s What I Do.
Avedon; Something Personal.
Avedon; What becomes a legend Most.
Bailey; Look again.
Don McCullin; Unreasonable behavior.
Harold Evans; My Paper Chase.
Margret White-Bourke; A Biography.
Sally Mann; Hold Still.
Helmut Newton; Autobiography.
Lee Miller; A Life.
Diane Arbus; Portrait of a Photographer.
Podcast – A Small voice by Ben Smith. Ben’s an excellent interviewer. Easy listening, conversations with photographers.
Escape from reality with a Hollywood movie. Rambo 4’s good! The last but one movie.