Interview of Jordan Thompson by Sophie Pellegrini
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m 18, I’m from Virginia, and am currently attending school in Delaware.
How and when did you get started in photography?
I started taking photos when I was twelve. My sister and my dad got me into it. My sister and I would take my dad’s DSLR and I would play model and take self-portraits.
What is your favorite thing to photograph? Why?
I love to photograph people and myself. I used to dance and my love for it easily transferred into my work. The body can express any emotion.
Tell us a bit about your work process, from inspiration to the final image.
I keep an “ideas” folder in my notes app on my phone. Whenever I catch myself really feeling a certain emotion, I write it down. I’m also really inspired by different ideas of heaven and hell, and other religious themes. Once I have a visual image in my head, I decide what location I want, what wardrobe would fit the theme, if I want it to be a self-portrait or if I want to use a model, etc. The planning is the most important part for me. Once I’ve taken it, I run it through Photoshop, which either takes twenty minutes or 3 hours depending on the photo.
Do you have a favorite image you’ve made or shoot that you’ve done?
My favorite piece I’ve done would have to be the four photos from The Rapture which was a part of my Atonement series. I was kind of hesitant to call this my favorite because the whole balloons in surrealism thing has been done so many times, but I think it’s the most symbolic of all my work. I shot it at an abandoned amusement park in West Virginia that I rented out for the day. I wanted a location that used to be somewhere happy and fun, but is now falling apart, so it was the perfect place. The idea behind the photo was about how the fun of being a part of the world has worn off kind of quickly for me, and how I know there are such better things awaiting me. In the photos, I’m being pulled towards the sky by white balloons, representing angels. I’m wearing a white dress, the color of cleanliness and purity. Basically, everything in these photos mean something. They’re very personal.
Your photos have a very narrative, story-telling quality to them. Do you agree? Is this something you’re conscious of in imagining and creating your photos?
Yes, definitely. For me, it’s never enough to just take a pretty picture. It has to say something. I think art is boring if it has no meaning.
How would you describe your photography aesthetic in a few words?
Each piece is very different from the last; visually, they aren’t cohesive. Every piece is a different world I’ve created. Each world only contains the specific emotion that the subject that inhabits it is feeling, and the space around them feels it too.
What’s one item on your bucket list?
I need to go to Antarctica. I need to shoot there.
Who is someone you consider a role model, or someone you look up to?
My mom! She always knows best and somehow always knows the outcome of things before they happen.