Hello and welcome to the website dedicated to my photography! I'm Jesse Thornton, the person behind the camera and my business 'Reflection in a Pool.' I use my photography as an outlet to create art focused on the natural beauty that my home state of West Virginia has to offer in hopes of inspiring others to appreciate it as I do.
I offer printed products of my West Virginia photography that are affordable for everyone that make great gifts for WV natives, transplants, or the non-native WV admirer. My photographic prints are shipped matted or unmatted on 100% cotton fine art paper made on demand at a local printer in my hometown of Huntington. All other printed products and materials that I cannot obtain locally are sourced from businesses within the US and never through an Amazon facility! I also lead photography workshops and photo tours in West Virginia, and the Outer Banks in North Carolina. You can find more info on my workshops page.
I was born in Point Pleasant, WV. The part of Appalachia bordering Ohio and near the Kentucky Border. I was broadly ignorant of a large chunk of our state, as many of us in the Mid-Ohio Valley are. I moved just a bit downriver to Huntington, WV in my late 20's and early 30's to finish my education at Marshall University. The goal was to obtain my Master's degree in Biomedical Sciences and move to an area with more economic opportunity. "The struggle to stay" phenomenon in West Virginia is very much a real thing for nearly everyone who grows up in this state and it was no different for me, even though this always felt like home. I expanded my horizons a bit by traveling across the country during this time. I was driven partly by the fact that I was born with a genetic disorder called Cystic Fibrosis, which affects the lungs through persistent lung infections and damages other organs over a lifetime and is usually terminal before the age of 40. Not knowing how long my health would hold up I picked up a camera, taught myself how to use it and went exploring. I learned what 'real' mountains were, as well as canyons, dark skies, and cities. However, I kept coming back to the ancient, eroded mountains of West Virginia and the old rivers with their carved-out valleys and canyons that are, frankly, a mere shadow of their Western counterparts. I learned that we too have night skies that are still dark enough to view the Milky Way and even our small towns and cities can be compelling under a certain light. Photography here can be more challenging compared to Western landscapes where there is a photogenic vista at every turn, but it can also be more rewarding with our dramatically varied landscapes and changing seasons. And so, I stayed here in Huntington and chose to focus on landscape photography.
I like to create images that are enthralling and ethereal, as if they were plucked straight from Middle Earth. Closer to home I can master the landscapes and the light with ample opportunity to study them. That sunset with the unreal colors in the sky and reflections in the water may have taken dozens of attempts at that same spot before finally getting the payoff. Images with the moon, star trails, or Milky Way aligned just right with earthly objects often form in my mind over months or longer. Other times I draw inspiration from fellow photographers in the area, wondering how I can have a different take on the same place. While persistence and planning are key - oftentimes it's nothing more than plain, dumb luck and happenstance of being in the right place at the right time. Ultimately, being there is my reason for doing this.
I'm proud to say that, in addition to this website, my work, or at least part of it, can be found in various small businesses and galleries across the state of West Virginia. I would be nowhere without this support. Please contact me if you are interested in carrying my work on wholesale or consignment in your store!
The Red Caboose - Huntington, WV
Inner Geek - Huntington, WV
The Wildflower Gift Gallery - Huntington, WV
WV Highlands Artisan Gallery - Davis, WV
Hoot & Howl - Morgantown, WV
Art Emporium - Charleston, WV
Thomasyard - Thomas, WV
Thread.101 at West Maple - Fayetteville, WV
Beckley Art Center - Beckley, WV
Market on Main - Bridgeport, WV
Putnam Provisions Coffee - Hurricane, WV