Diana Thornton

I started taking photos in the 1980s in high school. Of course, that was back in the days with black and white film, manual focus lenses and darkrooms. In college and graduate school I minored in photography, even taking classes in the Zone System (Ansel Adam's technique). I worked as artifact photographer for Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh as well as in the field at the archaeological dig in Port Royal, Jamaica (I have a Masters degree in underwater archaeology from Texas A&M).

I mainly specialize in animals and landscapes, musician and band promo and CD cover photography (I also do CD/DVD graphic design and art direction). I had dabbled as a musician back in the 90’s for a few years, and even recorded a couple albums. But it was my graphic design skills that actually made my living and so I started Crescent Music Services (www.crescentmusic.com) to provide CD/DVD design and manufacturing to the New Orleans music scene. I began offering the band and musician photography because often the photos provided for their covers were awful - sometimes low-res cellphone shots in a dark nightclub. Yikes. I've had to become good at salvaging bad photos in Photoshop and have developed little tricks with cropping and filters. For 30 plus years I have either been taking pictures, or, as an art director, choosing and editing images every day.

I used to foster kittens for several organizations in the New Orleans area, but now I volunteer my photography services to local shelters and rescue organizations. I am gratified to see adoptions increase due to my photos. Shelter photography is probably some of the most challenging photography I’ve had to do - but certainly the most rewarding.

Years of growing up with all kinds of critters, fostering kittens and working with horses has given me an intuitive connection with the animals I photograph. To help fund my volunteer photography, I began offering professional photography services to pet owners, providing personal, in-home sessions that capture the essence and character of the animal (and often their owners). I enjoy spending time with the pet and their owner. My photography comes from my heart and it is a joy to be able to do something I love and make such a difference in people’s and animals' lives.

Digital photography is an amazing medium and technology, and I marvel at how far it has come. Even our phones take amazing photos with the right composition, cropping and post processing. As they say, the best camera is the one you have with you.

Personally, I love to just take pictures. As you can see from my collection, I do a lot of miscellaneous projects, experimenting with different styles and post production. Travel photography is always fun, but harder than it looks to try to capture a different view/angle of a scene from what thousands of other tourists have shot before me. Of course I still take the typical postcard snaps as I'm traveling.

Post processing is an important step in the process, and I don't consider heavy post work cheating. While I do believe in attempting to get it "right" in the camera, that is not always possible. I use Lightroom and Photoshop as well as a few iPad apps such as Snapseed. In fact, once I have an image I really like (or want to salvage), I like to experiment with different styles such as black and white, crops, and effects, and just have fun with it.

Photography is a combination of art and technique, and, in my opinion, digital processing is no different than the dodging, cross processing and push processing I did years ago in the darkroom. Even the choice of paper can affect how an image looks.

It's all about the final image.


New Orleans Photo Alliance
National Association of Photoshop Professionals