This is a weekly series where we feature our incredibly talented Adolescent members and their work! Sign up here to join the Adolescent Membership and be part of the @ family!
This week, our Member Crush is Jordan Thompkins—a 23-year-old photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. A big portion of his work revolves around friendship, coming of age, Blackness, and redefining masculinity. For our newest feature, we asked Jordan about what it’s like shooting in Atlanta, getting back into self-portraits, and why he’s gotten into the practice of creatively destroying his photos.
Adolescent Content: Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? How old are you? How are you spending your time these days?
Jordan Thompkins: I’m originally from New Jersey, but I’ve lived in Georgia since I was 12. Now I’m 23! I’ve been putting a lot of energy toward personal projects lately. I’m actually in the middle of working on a series that I’ve been wanting to get off the ground for a while now. I don’t want to say too much about it yet but I’m really excited.
Adolescent: How has 2020 changed your work and style?
Jordan: Being in a pandemic has given me much more time for self-portraiture. Back when I was 13, self-portraiture was all I did, so it’s been fun getting back to those roots. I’ve also been using this extra time to try adding more physical “editing” touches to my work. Lately I’ve been printing my photos out and crumpling them, ripping a hole through the middle, writing on them, collaging them, or maybe burning an edge or two before scanning it back into Photoshop. Anything to give the photo a more organic touch.
Adolescent: Can you tell me about your creative process, from coming up with a concept to editing?
Jordan: My process for coming up with concepts can be a bit abstract and not very linear at times. Sometimes who I’ve chosen to be the model sparks the idea for a concept. Other times, it’ll be a particular location that does it. I’ll often be driving down the road and see somewhere that will suddenly get the creative gears turning. Music has also been a recurring catalyst for me in coming up with concepts.
My editing process, on the other hand, is a bit more methodical. I’m very meticulous in the editing of the colors and tones in my work. I love shooting film and the way it reproduces the colors we see in real life. So much so that I often try to emulate this in the editing of my digital photos. I spend a lot of time studying the colors and tones of film photos to help me accurately reproduce this look
Adolescent: How does being in Atlanta affect your work?
Jordan: Atlanta has a very wide range of locations to offer, so it’s never hard to switch up where you shoot. You not only have the city, but some interesting suburbs within close proximity as well. You also have fairly easy access to more natural locations. About a week ago, I shot in a bamboo forest that was only twenty minutes outside of the city!
Adolescent: What’s it been like being an Adolescent Member?
Jordan: It’s been awesome! I’ve had the opportunity to apply for a lot of cool positions that I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to as well as see what other young people in the art world are doing. It’s inspiring reading about all the big things many of the Members have going on so early in their careers!