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© Jennifer Spelman

Mentor: Alan Thornton

Alan M. Thornton has been an advertising, editorial, and fine-art photographer for 16 years, working with such clients as John Deere, Land Rover, Nike, Apple, Hewlett Packard, the Santa Fe Reporter, and TV Guide. His company’s current work involves classic and contemporary styled portrait illustrations for advertising and editorial clients that are captured both in the studio and on location. His personal work focuses on fine-art landscape and nature photography.

A dedicated photographic educator and consultant, Alan is currently on the faculty of Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., teaching on various topics from Location Portraiture and Studio Lighting to Business Fundamentals and Editorial Story Building. He serves as a consultant and mentor for new and established photographers, helping them to create a stronger marketing presence and to develop a distinct style.     
Alan's most recent documentary project took him to the mountainous regions of the border of Turkey and Iraq, where he made large-format black-and-white portraits of the nomadic Kurdish people. His work has been featured with Hewlett Packard, earning him the Prestigious Photographer sponsorship, as well awards from the Center for Fine Art Photography and the IPA Merit Awards for his travel and documentary work. Alan has taught for the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops for five years. His Web site address is www.amtproductions.com.

“As a photographic educator and consultant, I endeavor to help clients and students formulate, understand, and achieve their professional and personal photographic goals. Photography is not only an artistic profession but also a unique business that can tax even the greatest artists and technicians. Despite the growing number of photographers entering the industry every year, it remains true that the more distinct and visually prolific photographers stand the greatest chance of success and profitability, providing that they have a firm understanding of their business and the marketing of their skills and imagery.
“I work with photographers individually to help them recognize and understand their technical and artistic strengths and to maximize them effectively as marketing tools. We also explore their weaknesses and how they might be transformed into strengths. I work closely to help students develop their own vision and style by analyzing their different bodies of work, studying trends, and possibly developing a more effective perspective and approach. 
“Before launching my own photography studio, I worked as a professional assistant and producer for numerous photographers and studios all over the country. These experiences taught me to see and do things in many different ways and provided the perfect background for me to begin teaching and mentoring other photographers. I noticed early on that I had a very difficult time seeing things about myself, my work, my abilities, and my skills; but my colleagues and my own mentors were able to see them plainly, and to help me see them. Now I find that helping others reach these realizations and accomplish their own goals is as gratifying as creating a perfect image for one of my clients.”