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Sept. 30, 2022

Alyssa Thorne: Still Life Storyteller

Alyssa Thorne: Still Life Storyteller

Interweaving her skills in photography, sculpture, writing, design, and history, Alyssa Thorne is creating still life compositions that will transport you to other worlds. Her photographs are heavy with symbolism, rich colors, duality, and...


Interweaving her skills in photography, sculpture, writing, design, and history, Alyssa Thorne is creating still life compositions that will transport you to other worlds. Her photographs are heavy with symbolism, rich colors, duality, and flowers.  

Historical still lives have a language of symbolism that is easily decoded with a bit of knowledge. Alyssa is passionate about teaching this language and shares a little “Still Life Appreciation 101” in this episode. Still lives can document anything from trade routes to warnings that earthly pleasures will fade away. 

Alyssa’s work is heavy in symbolism. She uses butterflies and moths to symbolize transformation. The skull is an obvious symbol of death. She doesn’t see it as creepy; it’s an educational tool. A burning candle stands for life and one that has been snuffed out represents death.  

Her writing cannot be separated from her photos. Each has an artist statement that explains the story and symbolism of the piece. However, Alyssa welcomes all viewers to apply their own stories to her work. 

Every piece of her work is a portal to another world. Sometimes the work will have an actual window or doorway in it, and other times the photo itself is the portal.  

Death is a recurring theme in her work. She uses art as a tool for processing grief. She is honored to be part of the death positive movement. She finds the more she expresses death in art, the less she fears it. While she’s still goth, she doesn’t dress that way anymore. She found the more she put grief into her work, the more she wanted to wear pink and fairytale type clothes.  

Alyssa gave us a peek into her process. Once an idea pops into her head, she’ll research and plan the story. Next, she gathers props from her extensive collection. If she needs new props, she contacts one of her antique friends. Once everything is together, she shoots the work, using only natural lighting. Editing takes 3-12 hours and consists of using a digital paint brush to bring out the desired colors.  

Alyssa encourages ALL of us to try the art of still life. You don’t need to be skilled or a professional to use it to document an event or tell a story. She suggests starting out by watching some natural lighting tutorials on YouTube. Grab some posterboards from the dollar store and most important of all, HAVE FUN.  

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Visit her at her web site: https://alyssathorne.co/ 

Alyssa Thorne Profile Photo

Alyssa Thorne

Fine art photographer and writer from Washington State specializing in still life. Lover of flowers.