Ellen Thornton has been making images and lecturing since 1984. Before commencing her teaching career she spent ten years self-employed as an advertising and editorial photographer working with print and audio visual presentations. During this time she also scripted and presented a photography course for children for RTE.

Her main research interests centre on the use of the image to question, document, persuade and re-present the world we all live in and share. She situates her practice within a discourse of questioning rather than answering leaving it to the viewer to enter into their own dialogue with the image. She is especially interested in the interplay between cultural symbolism and the narratives of individual and collective identity. She has researched the topic of land, home, and place as they are played out within the geographical and political conflict area of Israel/Palestine.

With the advent of digital technologies and the resulting ease with which images may be produced, transmitted and consumed the role of the image in society is changing.
Increasingly her research and practice questions this role, both from the position of the observed, as well as her own role as observer.  Is it a public art grounded in the experiences and aspirations of a democratic society, or a form of expression and communication that delivers a miasma of fragmentary information and sensory appeals leaving little distinction between fact and fiction, public affairs and private  consumption?,