An Eye for Design
By Johnathan McGinty | Photos courtesy of thrasherdesign.com
Listen, love may not have blossomed at first sight, but it’s safe to say it was seeded by a first frame.
More than two decades ago, Beth Hall Thrasher eagerly snatched up a beautiful work of art from a young, up-and-coming photographer named Jason Thrasher. It was for charity, she figured, benefitting the Athens Human Rights Festival, and it was a gorgeous piece that Jason had captured during a trip to India.
In fact, she liked it so much that six months later, it proved to be the inspiration for Beth to travel to India with some friends. She connected with this talented photographer to pick his brain on where to go and what to do, and he even gave her an album to deliver to a friend of his overseas.
The only problem was they were both into other people. Jason had a love interest overseas, and Beth was perhaps partially going to India due to a crush she had on someone in the travel party.
While in India, Beth encountered a man — one “who may have been a psychic” per Jason’s recollection — who told her she had something important with her, she was with the wrong person and that she’d be married within a year.
Jason’s photography was in the album he had given her, and, soon, their respective relationships faded.
“I was in Amsterdam with this girl I had met in India, but that blew up, so I got back to Athens and she got back to Athens,” Jason said. “We met to look at her photographs from her trip, and we started with coffee … and ended up at The Grit … and ended up at 40 Watt … and ended up being together for 22 years.”
Today, Beth and Jason are the forces behind Thrasher Photo & Design, providing everything from branding and graphic design services to website ideation and world-class photography. It’s an eclectic mix of creative arts that fits an ever-evolving media landscape featuring a diverse mixture of clients, while also enabling them to remain rooted in their natural passions.
Jason, who shared his rich body of work on the Athens music scene in his award-winning book, Athens Potluck, has had his portraiture featured in some of the top outlets in the world, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Garden & Gun and more. Additionally, his photography has graced the covers of talented musicians like the Drive-By Trucker, Patterson Hood, Cracker, Bad Religion and Blackberry Smoke … to name just a handful of the world-renowned acts that have turned to him.
His artform provides a perfect complement to what Jason describes as Beth’s “genius” approach to her work. She cut her teeth in the emerging tech world that was San Francisco in the 1990s. Surrounded by rising giants like Apple, she thrived in a fast-paced world that allowed her to blend her diverse skillset to serve and support others.
After they first became a couple, they collaborated to run Dreamspan, a film arts company that managed and produced the Short Attention Span Film and Video Festival which toured curated programs of super-short films internationally for more than a decade. As that project faded away, they turned their eyes — and energies — back to Athens.
What drew them back was, yes, opportunity, but also the creative energy that surges through the community and fuels them each day. The vibrant arts and music scene offers an endless stream of options for the couple to create and collaborate.
The city is as much a central figure in their personal and professional journeys as they are, providing not only a place to found a business and raise a family, but also serving as a wellspring of inspiration to satisfy their urges to create.
“It is the character in my story,” Thrasher said. “Athens is the character of my work. I hopefully have two more books on it following Athens Potluck that are my life’s work. I wish I had more time to travel, but this is where I live and work, and it’s a place that speaks to me in so many ways.”
Today, they work with creative partners and eager clients on projects that span the country, from shooting a wedding one weekend to embarking on a comprehensive branding project the next. And despite the challenges posed by the rewarding, yet extensive client work — to say nothing of being a parent to two teen girls — both of them still find them to nourish their own personal passions.
It’s something Jason says is essential to find time to create to push back the constraints of time.
“Some people look at what we do and go ‘why would you do all this extracurricular stuff,’” Jason said. “That’s what I do. The other work is the job, but we feel lucky that our clients are creative, and that helps broaden what we do. A lot of the stuff that I view as commercial work over the years has become part of my artwork. It might have been shot with commercial purpose, but it’s a bigger view of what I’ve done in Athens.”