CHARLYNE THORN –– The Swiss photographer who designed
the book 
Aching Beauty to be a visually, enticing experience. 

Picture perfect

Whimpering about the creative pain I was destined to experience designing the pages of Aching Beauty, as I walked into a local Toronto shop. Charlyne, whom I met before, overheard my whine and announced she could help. "It'll take me an hour or so," she said. The time it took to design the book, with me looking over her shoulder munching on cookies and chocolate, was closer to six days.

Yet, she remained calm and in control, a steadiness likely stemming from her Swiss roots out of Geneva, where she's from. But honed her creative-eye while studying photography in San Francisco. Had her work showcased on one of those big billboards in Time Square for Scünci, while in New York working in fashion. Now, in Toronto as the studio director for YM Inc, she shoots campaigns for Urban Planet, Urban Kids, Sirens, Stitches, Charlotte Russe and Mandee. 

I sit down with Charlyne to find out that natural light charges her creativity. Singing out her favourite tune is therapy she can move to. And while most of us turn to an ordinary Hallmark card to express our love, she prefers photo collages over words, and through food.


What habit do you wake up to that you can't live without?
Looking out the window. Light is the soul to my art. It’s shapes my photography. Nothing better than waking up and looking at the ever so changing natural light with a deep appreciation, and source of inspiration.

What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is outputting a part of yourself through a medium. Like in a photograph, it comes from the inside out. It’s a language someone chooses to communicate with, and share a part of themselves with what they feel will resonate with them. 

Any new creative projects that you’re working on?
I like my days to be different from one another. Meaning, I am constantly working on new shoots, but also editing more images from old ones as well as perfecting the online presentation of my work.

Your current favourite tune?
Music is therapy to me. Not because of the words or the meaning of the song, but as a tool for me to sing out loud and release tension. My playlist has variety, but the current song on repeat is “Love Riddim” by Rotimi.

What's that tune you're singing in the shower?
Back in elementary school during choir, I used to purposely sing louder than everybody else to get noticed. My Mom told me this story numerous times, and said, "I was the chosen one," to perform solo at the annual school show. Today, I carry on that legacy in my car or shower with “Sympathique” by Pink Martini.

Magazine of choice? Book?
Betty Bossi, your Swiss classic never fail recipe book. Growing up, cooking was a big part of the love language of my family. I follow in my families footsteps and use cooking to spread the love through food. 

A favourite film?
The Matrix. It teaches you to look at a situation from different perspectives, question what you’re told. That the truth might be harder to accept than the lie. 

A dish you just can't get enough of?
I'm from Switzerland, anything with chocolate. Literally, but not too dark. Dad, if you're reading this, take note.

When's the last time you wrote a love letter? Or a song? 
Before spell check was a thing. As a visual person, I prefer photo collages over words.

What's your favourite thing to do before you call it a night?
Take a deep breath and express gratitude for the day I had. Whether it was easy or hard, I learned something that allowed me to grow. And I am thankful for it.

Find out more at CharlyneThorn.com