Tonje Thilesen (they/them) is a Brooklyn-based photographic artist originally from Oslo, Norway, where they grew up deeply influenced by a familial and cultural reverence for the natural world. Their early interest in photography grew from adolescent introspection and a desire for closer study of their physical environment - a desire to see beyond what the naked eye could. But they also had an interest in documenting social phenomena. Tonje came up in the punk and hardcore music scenes of Oslo’s socialist/anarchist east, which eventually led them to Berlin where, while working as a music writer, promoter and manager, they started photographing the DIY music industry. This interest in both the natural and social environment they occupy persists in their now established visual language, which merges elements of the earthly with the surreal, the mundane with the ethereal. Tonje’s images are sensitive and gentle, yet bold and, at times, even radical, but always rendered in warm, lustrous light that pulls the viewer into an at once accessible and aspirational dreamscape.
Tonje’s work spans portraiture, still life, and documentary, and has been commissioned and published by The New Yorker Magazine, The New York Times, Time Magazine, BOOOOOOOM, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Fotografi Magasin, The Wall Street Journal, and many others.