"I Heard the North Wind Call Your Name" is a photographic series of portraits and post-industrial landscapes made in Rochester, NY. In the fall of 2020, I began wandering, hoping through photography, that I could make connections to people and gain a better understanding of my new home. With no agenda in mind, I allowed myself to become comfortable with the unknown - to follow my intuition and curiosity wherever they took me. Chance encounters and conversations with strangers often turned into portraits. My work, and understanding of the city, are informed by these shared experiences with my subjects. I am concerned with a sense and rhythm of a place and invested in making photographs that speak to my personal experience of Rochester. Exploring themes of longing, anxiety, and resiliency, my work is an interpretation, rather than a documentation. My project won’t tell you what to think about Rochester or its people, but hopefully it can show you that being open and engaging produces meaningful records. When I approach a project, place is always first on my mind. In Rochester, I have encountered the fragile state of connection and distance, love and longing, serenity, and anxiety. Often, the difference between these states of being are minuscule. This is something that I have continuously discovered in my photographic search – not only in the people I photograph, but the landscape itself, too. Going out into Rochester over these past two years has taught me a lot. I have learned that this place has been through a lot socially, politically, and economically. But I have also learned that this city is extremely welcoming and resilient, and its people are strong and proud.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Documentary photography--New York (State)--Rochester; Landscape photography--New York (State)--Rochester; Portrait photography--New York (State)--Rochester

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


RIT – Main Campus

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