Brizo’s #Blogger19 group left New York Fashion Week in complete awe of Jayme Thornton’s work. We weren’t the only ones. Many of my readers emailed about the recent Fashion Week photography I posted of Jayme Thornton. So I was compelled to find out more about Jayme’s work, talent, and background. (Not only is he super nice, he also happens to be very well known in the photography world!!!) He graciously gave me an interview:
CPD: Your work is stunning. I would love to know more about your background, how you got your start, and how long you have been in the business.
Jayme: My background is in theatre, of all things. I studied technical theater (lighting) and writing. I’ve never taken a photography class, but I was camera obsessed starting around 10th grade and started shooting landscapes. Now I see my fashion photography as an extension of my theatrical background, using a lot of the same lights I trained with. After assisting for 3 years I started my official business in 2003.
CPD: Any big breaks or career highlights you care to share?
Jayme: My first big break was getting my first job in NY working for a photographer at his studio on 22nd st. That was a big change from Georgia, where I’m from. From that job I learned how to light a photo set, how to produce a shoot, how to use high-end gear and most importantly I met other photographers and industry people who gave me my first jobs. The second big break was Rockport shoes seeing my work in a little Conde Nast trade magazine called Footwear News and hiring me for their ad campaigns for next 4 years! We traveled to Antigua, Miami, and Calgary for shoot and it was amazing.
CPD: Are clients everywhere or only NYC?
Jayme: Most of my clients are NY based, but I’ve shot for clients all over. The furthest was a crazy shoot in South Africa.
CPD: You are well-known for fashion/celebrity/portraits -anything else?
Jayme: I enjoy technical still life where everything has to be perfect, but my favorite is shooting people. Fashion is amazing because the concepts can be literally anything and everyone is so passionate about what they’re doing on set, I love being in the middle of that.
CPD:What are some of your favorite photographs that you have taken?
Jayme: some of my favorite photos…the shot of Iggy Pop may be my favorite. He was so cool to shoot, an easy pro in front of the camera for sure. Super nice guy and easy to talk to. The shots of Kate Winslet I like also cause I had exactly 8 minutes to pull all that off. Again, she was a polished pro who could just turn it on like a flood gate. I’ve been shooting some dramatic fashion shots lately that use my old theatre lights. And then there are all the pictures of my kids that no one sees 🙂
CPD: Any advice/tips for the novices photography?
Jayme: My advice for new photogs is to shoot! shoot shoot shoot shoot and keep shooting. Take 10,000 shots. Literally, take 10,000 shots. By shot 9,999 you’ll have a better eye for composition, start seeing little tricks light can do and you’ll start to have you’re own style, the camera will write with your signature. When I started shooting I do what I still do now, I pay attention to magazines and ads and see what’s going on visually in the world and be inspired. One thing that has changed since I started is that I’m less gear obsessed and more people obsessed. Photography for me now is more like being a director and getting the most I can out of my subject. Getting people to feel at ease, or excited, or sexy, to get the shot. So being able to connect with people is a good trait to hone. Also, I see photo shoots as big problem solving exercises. Typically you go in with a good idea of what you’re going to do, but then everything changes, it could be weather, or model in a bad mood, or your assistant forget to pack power cords for your lights, and you have to problem solve on the fly and create that great shot. I enjoy that part of the job.
I guess I’d add you have to love the job. You need the love to get you over those horrible humps when you’re not working. The demoralizing slow times are when you need to keep shooting and playing with ideas so when the work finally comes back you’ll have new tools to throw at the shot.
CPD: Jayme, you are an inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing your background, photos and pointers with us. We look forward to following your future work. Meanwhile, it’s time for the rest of us to shoot shoot shoot….!
See more of Jayme Thornton’s work here.
photo credit: all photos (except the last- of him!) by Jayme Thornton