Michael Thoennes is one of Miami’s most innovative advertising photographers. A self-described “artist making a living in the commercial world”, Thoennes’s advertising clients have included American Express, Dell Computers, DHL Worldwide, Couples Resort, Ford Motor Company, Hewlett Packard, Molson Canadian Beer, Sprint, Weston Hotel and the US Postal Service.
Michael received a BFA from the University of Florida in 1989. While a student he was exposed to the work of legendary photographer Jerry Uelsmann, at the time a graduate research professor who had already won Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Thoennes intended to pursue a career in graphic design, but the influence of Uelsmann and other faculty, Wallace Wilson, Yvonne Streetman and Maggie Taylor, inspired him to pursue photography. The decision led him to acclaim his senior year when he won the Harmon Photo Award, the top photography prize at the school’s annual Juried Student Arts Exhibition.
Upon graduation, Thoennes found work in Kansas City as an assistant to Dan White, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and Nick Vedros, a well-acclaimed advertising photographer. The experience gained working with Dan provided Michael the confidence to set out on his own. In 1995, he relocated to Miami, Florida where he began to secure work with local magazines like Ocean Drive and Miami Business.
From there his client base swelled, and he has since worked as both an advertising photographer and an art photographer balancing his commercial work with artistic exhibitions. Agencies that have worked with him include Crispin Porter and Bogusky, Ogilvy, Saatchi and Saatchi, Sony Music, Turbulence Advertising and Young and Rubicam. He currently has an installation hanging on loan to British Airways Miami, and has successfully exhibited in a solo show and several group exhibitions during the annual Art Basel Miami Beach.
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