Jennifer Thoreson Talks About the Resurrection of Her Powerful Project

We’re back with another episode of Inside the Photographer’s Mind. This week we’re joined by fine art photographer Jennifer Thoreson, and it’s one of the most original episodes we’ve done so far. Thoreson came on the show to discuss her series Testament, her creative process, and her current project, which we’re sure will melt your hearts.

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Meeting Jennifer Thoreson

I first connected with Jennifer Thoreson because of Testament. It’s a series providing a set of images that objectively grab your attention without knowing their back story. As the quality of the imagery held my attention, I became desperate to know more about the motivation for the project.

To understand what inspires Thoreson’s work, we must delve into her past. She grew up in a Southern Baptist household in rural Texas, taught to abide by conservative values. As Thoreson developed her thoughts and feelings about the world, she experienced internal conflict while trying to create a personal relationship with faith and spirituality. Most of her work is an exploration of her experiences, belief systems, and external teachings. In her artist statement, Thoreson writes, “I am probing into these furtive areas, investigating the management of pain in relationship to faith and deeply rooted belief systems.”

Testament was released in 2015. However, it blew up again seven years later. On Inside the Photographer’s Mind, we asked Thoreson what she felt was the reason behind the project’s resurgence. She explained that she’s seeing a new level of empathy cropping up in society and people see things freshly, carrying an awareness that we don’t know each other stories. Thoreson says this may be due to the pandemic, where we have all faced challenges for the past two years. It’s possible people are seeing that level of empathy and the aim to understand the experiences of others in her Testament series. Thoreson feels this is why the work has risen once again in popularity.

Jennifer Thoreson on The Prayer Glove Project

The term “fine art photographer” is often used liberally. However, if there’s anyone the truly fits that description, it’s Jennifer Thoreson. Although she’s a photographer, the concepts she develops go deeper than just hitting a shutter button. The Prayer Glove Project is the latest creation by Thoreson, and it’s both fascinating and moving. First of all, the project is community-based, as Thoreson is asking for a donation of gloves to help create her installation. At the time of the podcast, she has received about 2,000 gloves (1,000 pairs). Thoreson explains that the project initially stemmed from her interest in the practice of prayer, but what it has evolved into is extremely profound and meaningful.

Thoreson wants to develop an installation that represents how people pray, meditate, or connect to spirituality, all while supporting those in need. She felt prayer gloves were the best representation of this. Some local parents who have a five-year-old son with a seizure disorder volunteered to be the center point of the creation. The idea was the prayer gloves would be offered to the little boy as a form of support for this condition. Once the installation is ready, Thoreson will photograph the gloves with the little boy positioned alongside them. It’s a touching subject and one you can understand more by listening to the full episode.

What Else to Expect

During the rest of the episode, Thoreson takes us through her creative process and how photography helps her meditate and calm her anxiety: something she states she struggles with daily. We also explore some of her past works and discuss how she feels about them now. Also, expect to listen to Thoreson explain the current state of her relationship with the craft.

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You can connect with Jennifer by visiting her website. You can also donate to The Prayer Glove Project here.

Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host of professional photographers within the industry.