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Success on Paper: Jesse Thornton, Landscape Photographer

What if you could pair the right paper with the right advice?

See how we helped Jesse Thornton offer his customers quality prints of his work while answering all his printing-related questions.

Land and Sky

For an independent person who enjoys photography and the outdoors, West Virginia is a fortuitous homeland. Jesse Thornton makes the most of his beloved location, which has no shortage of stunning landscapes — and “skyscapes.”

Scroll to see a photo that may make your heart leap. “Seneca Rocks Moon Walk 6” is a shot that required astronomical precision and extreme patience as “highliners” walked the Seneca Rocks gap — with a full moon as their backdrop. The next image is his view of dawn in the Bear Rocks Preserve (“Bear Rocks Sunrise 2”), taken in the Dolly Sods Wilderness of the Allegheny Mountains.

Jesse’s customers love his home state as much as he does. But, after outsourcing his printing for several years, he no longer loved the results. What could he do about it?

Enter Red River Paper

The answer: He purchased his own printer. “With the combination of my printer, a few custom printer profiles, and papers offered by Red River Paper, I can produce the highest quality of prints I’ve provided to date — and on much finer paper for a price considerably lower than I was previously paying to outsource,” Jesse tells us. He’s especially pleased with our Palo Duro Baryta Fiber 300, a lightly textured semigloss paper with rich tonality, depth, and feel. For cards, Jesse counts on our scored 60lb. River Linen Greeting Cards for just the right level of texture without interfering with details.

Beyond paper, Jesse says he appreciates how our customer service team promptly responds to questions, even when they aren’t product related. We’re all about our customers’ business and happy to help wherever we can!

See More of Jesse’s Work

On Jesse’s website,, you can see West Virginia by day and by night, and tour the state’s gorgeous parks and charming cities. You can also follow Jesse on Instagram and Facebook under the handle “reflectioninapool.” To learn more about his visceral experience preparing for and shooting the highliners project, see our Q&A with Jesse below.

Enjoy our Q&A with Jesse Thornton…

What year was your business founded and how did you get started?

Around 2016, what began as a hobby with my landscape photography transitioned into my business, Reflection in a Pool. There wasn't a specific point when this happened. I usually say I stumbled into it in small steps, trying different things to find out what works. Before I knew it, it all became what I'm doing now.

Tell us a little about what product or service your business offers.

Through photography, I highlight the scenic landscapes and the night skies that my native home of West Virginia has to offer. Clients can purchase a printed piece of my work to hang on their walls or for digital licensing. I teach landscape photography in the field as well. In my photography workshops, I share my knowledge of this region with other enthusiasts who want to capture the most scenic areas at the best times and learn how to get the most out of their cameras. If you want to know how to capture the Milky Way with your wide-angle lens, I can help you do that, too!

What makes your business unique?

When I say that I have a photography business, most people assume I work with people, shooting portraits, weddings, events, etc. However, my photography is almost entirely centered around the natural world around me. Unlike other forms of photography, I try to limit the number of people in front of my camera as much as possible! It's tough when you try to make any form of art your business, but I'm always trying to adapt and find different outlets.

Where do you source your raw materials from?

I'm fortunate to live near a local wholesale framing business that gives me access to matting and framing materials at wholesale prices. I like to stay local as much as possible, but when I can't, there are still a few great independent companies that I can work with, like Red River Paper, while still avoiding Amazon.

In what ways does the business reflect your own personality?

I'm very much a solitary person who enjoys being outdoors. I can also be particular about the kind of things I create. Being outside on my own with my camera allows me to take as much time as I need to study an area and wait as long as needed for the right conditions. Sometimes, that means returning to the same spot repeatedly, and that's okay because it gives me another excuse to be out there. It takes a lot of patience, and I usually have that in reserve.

Who are your typical customers?

People who love and admire the state of West Virginia, like the natives and transplants from here. But often, it's people who visit and come away with a fondness for our state.

What is the most interesting project you've encountered in the course of your work?

One of the few times I've included people as subjects in photography was a project for The Steel City Slackers, a highlining group from Pennsylvania. The image was a guy walking a highline in profile with the moon rising between a gap in a famous West Virginian rock formation called Seneca Rocks. It was an homage to world-renowned free climber and highliner Dean Potter, who famously did a "moonwalk" like this several years ago. It took many months of planning, but as far as I know, we're the only group to do anything like this on the East Coast, where the landscapes are a bit more challenging to pull off a feat like this. You can read all about our “Shoot the Moon” efforts.

What has Red River Paper done for your business? Is there a particular challenge Red River Paper helped you overcome or a goal they helped you meet?

Since I began my business, I have always outsourced my printing needs; invariably, over time, I have become unhappy with those results. I decided to take the plunge at the end of last year and purchase a printer that will allow me to take care of 90% of my printing needs at home. With the combination of my printer, a few custom printer profiles, and papers offered by Red River, I can produce the highest quality prints I've provided to date — and on much finer paper for a price considerably lower than I was previously paying to outsource. Red River has been especially valuable with printing the level of quantity I offer.

What do you appreciate most about Red River Paper's products/services?

Red River Paper was one of the first companies I came across on this new journey. They were very helpful and prompt in answering some questions about getting started, many of which were printing-related questions and had nothing directly to do with any product I might order from them.

Original Publication Date: March 18, 2024

Article Last updated: March 25, 2024

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