Expose Me!


Erika Thornes, a  San Diego based portrait photographer, has a passion for documenting life; all ages and stages of life, from beginning to end. Here is Erika’s story.  All eyes are on Erika!


{Why and when did you become a photographer?}

I was given an SLR as part of an after school activity at my middle school. About 7 of us kids were handed cameras, shown how to use the internal light meter, and were let go into the world to shoot in fully manual. We were given a little cheat sheet with the F/stop and shutter speed guide on a spinning wheel, and were told to go figure it out. When we returned a week later with our roll of film we were introduced to the dark room. I spent many afternoons in there getting my exposure right. The mistakes I made trying to filter color negatives to print B&W are totally laughable now, but great learning experiences for a kid. I printed bad picture after bad picture to give out to my friends, and loved doing it. I just remember how dusty and dirty that dark room was. Middle school students are definitely not known for their care.underwater-2

In high school, I had to mix the chemicals and clean up after the students, and even then, it was in the attic of a 100 year old school without much ventilation. Throughout high school and college, I took every photography class I possibly could, invented my own “classes” when I was out of options, was the photo editor for our college school newspaper, and worked in photo services. Due to the huge volume of black and white film rolls I have rolled and developed over the years for all the students and staff photographers, the processing smell has been imprinted to a permanent memory.  Everyday that I shoot, I am grateful for the digital world. No, I am not a dark room junkie, even though I can hold my own in one.


{How would you describe your style of photography?}

On Google+, I use the tag line, “Photographer of Verve” because I am wildly enthusiastic about my art – photography. In short, I’m full of verve! I love capturing joy. I love capturing energy and love. Sometimes even quiet faces and tender moments have an abundance of emotion, and this shows so clearly in my work. That said, freezing a moment of joy is what energizes me and keeps me shooting.


{What is your most difficult challenge in the business?}

Defining my style to the client. Sometimes it can be a challenge to balance what the client imagines and what my eye sees from the scene before me.  Looking through my camera, I have distinct view of the world that might be different from the perspective of where they are in the scene and how I am recording the light. I try to convey special moments through my photos, and it can’t always be staged. My sense of humor and boldness are reflected in my work.


{Where would you like to see your talents take you?}

This might seem cliche, but I strive to be the best I can be. This is not because I have some deep-seeded longing to be something for myself – to make my pictures about my success and my growth as a photographer. I want to have a legacy of images for people to enjoy. I want my images to be printed, hung, and made into coffee-table books.  I want people who pass them to feel joy or nostalgia for the person in the photograph. I want to be sought out because people appreciate my perspective, and want to see love the way I see it.


{Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?}

My biggest source of inspiration is God: His work through people, His work though nature, and the joy and love I see in people’s lives. In the grand scheme of things, we only have a short time here on earth.  I want moments of it to be forever remembered and reflected in the love we have here.  Whether my pictures are of infants starting their lives or of the elderly in hospice care, pictures are more valuable than gold – they are a moment of time that can be cherished now and as time goes by and our lives change. I want these moments to be remembered. It is about legacy.


{Tell us little about your studio.}

I’m a San Diego-based, custom portrait photographer.  My studio is wherever my camera is.  My passion is to document life:  newborns, maternity, family, and even images towards the end of life. I love to shoot in environments where my clients are most familiar and where they have meaningful memories.  By shooting in locations that hold meaning to my clients, I believe the portraits become more inmate, and become even more of a treasure for my clients.

My website is http://www.erikathornes.com/

My facebook is https://www.facebook.com/EThornes

My Google + is https://plus.google.com/u/0/101437802758827481019/posts