In this paper I discuss my thesis book project Life is Short Life is Long which uses ten years of photographs to conjure an intimate memory of my life in my twenties throughout the American landscape. I discuss the purpose of the work and the conceptual foundation of a book with 360 pictures along with direct influences like Robert Frank, Boris Mikhailov, Nan Goldin, and Garry Winogrand, all artists whose work comes directly from the intersection of personal observation and public spectacle. The second part of this paper addresses my graphic printed work, which was a main part of the exhibition and has been a way for me to reinterpret my own images through another medium. Expressionists like Edvard Munch and William Christenberry appropriated their own imagery to invent new material forms for expression. This way of working is about revealing some aura that is latent in the image through a more improvisational and expressive way. Photographs often become our memories and bear witness to the changing form of our lives. As artists, whatever we make is a memorial to the lives we live. All of my work is about the search for meaning concerned with contradictions in truth, the imperfection of beauty, and the historical aspect of the personal.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Photography, Artistic--Themes, motives; Prints--Themes, motives; Memory in art

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Photography and Related Media (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (CAD)


Joshua Thorson

Advisor/Committee Member

William Osterman

Advisor/Committee Member

Ahndraya Parlato


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes