One of the world’s leading international image makers, Atlanta, Georgia USA native Steve Thornton began his illustrious career as a self taught and progressive 12 year old shutterbug with a keen and razor sharp eye to detail. Steve has an ardent passion for creating great images and loves a visual challenge.
Steve says, "I'm really happy getting into the details of a visual problem or an unexpected situation. I'm happier when I solve the problem, but the path to get to the solution is a lot of fun too!"
He works fast, looks for different ways/angles to shoot the same scene (helping clients to build a library of images), he's a good seeker of light, he's creative and knows how to use light to the best advantage. He and his crew like to have fun, most of his projects are fun to be on (see below) and the entire crew knows that they are there to get what the client needs: To solve problems and shoot great imagery.
Steve travels on assignment an average of 175 days a year, he has been in 48 of the 50 states plus 18 countries from North America to the Caribbean, to Europe to the Orient and the Middle East.
Steve is a winner in the ASMP "Best of" award. The ASMP is an international professional photography guild 7000 members strong.
The southernmost point in Germany, Oberstdorf
Steve says, "In another life, I was an electrician, a welder, a fabricator, a machinist, a mechanic and an electronic technician. So being around electricity and machinery is not foreign to me, in fact I like machines! In addition I frequently know what I am looking at. And I know how to fix lots of things which has helped me fix problems on set."
He goes on to tell a story about being on location in a warehouse that just did not have enough electrical outlets and how the strobes kept popping the circuit breakers. This is the rest of story from Steve: "I saw the main electrical distribution panel in the warehouse, and always with tools, I pulled off the cover. (My client is deeply concerned) I noted it was a Square D panel, I pulled out one of the circuit breakers so I confirm the type it was, wrote up a short list of electrical parts: 1 each 4x4x2 handy box, 1 each 3/4 x close pipe nipple, 4 ea 3/4" lock washers, 2 duplex outlets, 2 Sq. D 20 amp circuit breakers, a double duplex handy box cover, 4' 12 gauge solid wire, green, THHN. Plus 9' of 12 gauge wire in white and 9' black, also THHN."
Then he sent his lead assistant to the closest Home Depot and when he returned Steve punched out a pre-stamped "knockout" on the distribution panel, installed the nipple with the locking nuts, the handy box, the wire, the breakers, both duplex outlets and the cover plate. This solved the electrical problem.
More Problem Solving
Another time Steve was on a project and the "Art Direction Team" decided they wanted a fire on the beach in Mexico. So his crew found some drift wood and a newspaper but the wood was damp. Steve grabbed his tool bag, found an empty Coke bottle and had one of his assistants sit in the VW bug he had rented.
Having another assistant hold a flashlight, Steve removed the gas line running to the carburetor and poked the open end of the gas line into the Coke bottle. He then asked the assistant to make sure the car was in neutral and had his foot on the brake. Then Steve asked him to crank the car, which made the mechanical fuel pump work. When the bottle was getting close to full he said, "turn off the car". He put the gas line back on, tightened the clamp and headed to the beach where he had a blaze going in about 2 minutes.
One More Problem Solving
This project was shot in middle Georgia in mid February. The first items Steve bought? Chemical hand warmers and toe warmers and had them shipped overnight. These were for the clients & crew as 80% of the job was shot outside (Ad clients always wait until the last moment to approve, then they want to shoot the next day!) As another photographer said "It is not rush... it's advertising".
This shot was to help our client tell their clients that they are there for them, even after hours. We met with the operator of a small municipal water company, asked them if we could shoot here, could they ask the police to block the road, could they have a police car with the blue lights going and 2 police personnel directing traffic. The answer was yes to all of this.
Originally Steve was going to shoot this with strobe but within minutes it started to rain. Rain and high voltage strobe packs do not mix and it's exceedingly dangerous. Another problem was time, Steve wanted the sky to still have light to add depth. This "Magic" time of day only lasts a very few minutes... like 10 minutes.
Rapidly running out of time and thinking quickly, Steve pulled his Explorer with its headlights on the back of the blue truck and had the 2 clients pull their car's headlights to hit the left side of the blue truck and Steve asked his assistant to aim his headlights to hit the white pickup truck. It worked. In the words of our client "Cinematic Lighting."
He would be delighted to answer any questions you may have and there are no strings attached, just answers and suggestions. When working he is focused and funny, when not working he is funny. So if you have problems, ask Steve if he can help.
Steve at Phoenix Airport
Steve at Phoenix Airport
Here he is petting a 2300 lb. (1045 Kilogram) Bull Buffalo, don't try this! It can be fatal.
For a sense of scale Steve is 6'6" (2 meters) tall.
Here Steve is giving instructions to the stagecoach driver where to go for the next series of shots.
Steve has been shooting Motion for almost as long as he has been a still photographer,
starting with Super 8mm film, then to 35mm film to SD Video and now HD video.
This Steve in St. Augustine shooting with his Arriflex 2C, a 35mm film motion picture camera
If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!