artist spotlight: james thornbrook

“Keep Looking” © James Thornbrook

My passion for flowers and nature has been with me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in England surrounded by water, woodland and wild flowers.

I got involved in photography relatively late in life, simply because I found the technical side a little confusing. I tried to learn online, but there always seemed to be so many disagreements about ‘the right way’ of doing things.

Naturally, I was forced to teach myself and it took time. Looking back, I think I would have progressed faster if I had done a workshop or something. I was stubborn and didn’t really want to admit that I could do with some help.

In my 30’s, I started to post some of my snap shots online and my work was spotted by a Swiss art dealer who became a friend. I certainly wasn’t ready for representation as an artist, but his online feedback transformed my style. I discovered my true strengths and I learned what it would take to organise a portfolio. I was encouraged to take photography more seriously and over time my knowledge developed.

The pivoting point in my journey came while I was researching fine art online. I came across a beautiful, single Calla Lily photographed by an American master photographer and gallery owner who had promoted the careers of Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. I made contact with him and he later presented me with four original prints as a gift. This was the first time I had a looked at original Fine Art prints. After looking at them I was hooked on photography and started my own life-long passion for Floral Fine Art.

Creating my flower portraits requires my full concentration. I slow down, listen and focus intently on the moment. There is calmness, freedom and solitude, which I really appreciate.

— James Thornbrook —


a few questions


If you had to describe your overall photographic vision in 25 words or less, what words would you choose?

I put my heart and soul in to each and every flower portrait. I believe I was born to photograph flowers.

What photographic cliché or common photography question, if any, irritates you the most?

A cliché may not be seen as such to a person starting out in photography. I value people’s interest in what I do. I know what it is like to be struggling for answers. We are all at different
stages. Any questions about my work are valid– regardless of however many times I have been asked them.

If you had to come up with one very important lesson that you think every photographer needs to learn, what would it be?

Learn to trust your gut feeling before you take any photo. Slow down and listen. Lastly, try not to fall into the trap of believing that buying more gear will get you better images. I have seen award winning images taken with 6 mega pixel cropped sensors.

What artistic influences, outside of photography, have had a significant influence on how you approach your photography (for example, painters, film-makers, musicians, poets, etc.)?

Firstly, I like too many film directors to go into it here, and it could also become quite geeky and long-winded!

I’m inspired by Art and Design generally. Artists I admire are Richard Serra and Gerhard Richter because they are bold and not afraid to be themselves. My music tastes change often, but I always come back to Sade, Deep Forest and Ludovico Einaudi because I find their music soulful and full of overwhelming passion. These are the things that I want to convey in my own work.

Is there anything else you wish to add?

I wish to thank everyone that has supported me thoughout my journey. Without the feedback, constructive criticism and friendship, I doubt I would have earned the solid reputation that I have today. Many thanks and best wishes to you all.

Explore more of James’ Images:  Flickr | Floral Slideshow


Gallery of Floral Squares

“Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light.”  — Theodore Roethke — 

All images on this page– unless otherwise noted– are protected by copyright and may not be used without James Thornbrook’s permission.  

The text is also copyrighted and may only be used with the permission of Nathan Wirth or James Thornbrook.

One Comment

  1. Robert Lewis June 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    You are an absolute legend …. exquisite work!

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  1. […] when I planned my assignment as his images really inspired me.  One of my favourites is ‘Keep Looking’ as I love Thornbrook’s simple effective styling of this image.  The delicate lighting is […]

  2. […] when I planned my assignment as his images really inspired me.  One of my favourites is ‘Keep Looking’ as I love Thornbrook’s simple effective styling of this image.  The delicate lighting is […]

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