Are Your Images Apples or Onions?

Last year, at Brooke Shaden’s Promoting Passion Convention, I had the pleasure of listening to Jennifer Thoreson speak about her work and photographic journey. I have been following Jennifer’s work for a while now, so I was super thrilled to be hearing her speak.

She is so eloquent when she speaks. It’s very soft and calming. Listening to her made you feel grounded and like you were covered in a warm blanket! Her words were beautiful and made you feel understood. She talked about what brought her into her recent series Testament and just listening to how she felt about the body of work was truly magical.

She later went on to talk about how there are apple images and onion images. At first I thought, “Ugh, no one wants an onion image!”. I have a huge distaste for onions so I instantly snarled. As she continued she talked about how apple images are just that… they’re beautiful and sweet to look at and that’s all they are. It didn’t make much sense to me at first but then she said what you really want is an onion image. Onion images aren’t just what you see is what you get. You have layers and layers with onions to get to the part that is edible.

I probably butchered her wonderful philosophy but let me just tell you it touched me. I always strive to have onion images. I want my images to mean something or even tell a story. Lately I’ve become more and more okay with my images not being all about personal experiences. I typically create images I can emotionally connect with. I have a few images that are just pretty surface value, but a majority of my work is very healing for me.

I grew up telling stories. I used to write my own little story books, poems, lyrics, etc. I told stories through art, writing, and music. I slower started to drift from that and I’m at a point with my work where I want to start telling those stories again. I want to start allowing my mind to go back to those fantasy and dark worlds and tell the stories how my imagination sees them.

If you see a bit of a shift in my work, then that’s why. Sometimes we have to do new things. It’s not because we don’t like what we’ve been doing, but it’s because we grow. As artists, I feel it’s very important to always grow no matter what.

Are Your Images Apples or Onions?, Apples and Onions

“Apple and Onions” 2015

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