RED Hearts: Photographer Tess Mayer, 16

RED Hearts are guests posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. Today's RED Hearts post is from Zulay Regalado, 22, in Miami, FL who talked to a teen photographer whose tumblr inspires:

Tess Mayer, 16, counts actor Andrew Garfield and model Devin Aoki among her list of hopeful photo subjects—not to brush with celebrity, but more to unbrush it. “I think it would be really interesting to see their actual personalities, instead of a character’s,” says the upstate New York photographer. An artist with a timeless ability to highlight the simplicity and beauty of her surroundings, Tess shares the details behind her love of natural settings, authentic people, and where she finds the occasional creative refuel.

Zulay Regalado: I'm loving your Tumblr. What first attracted you to the world of photography and building this amazing body of work? Tess Mayer: Thank you! Discovering photography was coincidental for me. As I kept taking photographs, I naturally wanted some feedback. So I went to Flickr and Tumblr, and I found countless talents that inspired me and fueled my desire to stay with it.

ZR: How would you describe your photographic style? TM: I think my style, mainly portraits, usually focuses on the purity and innocence of a person, rather than their superficial appearance. I very much resent modern media’s depiction of humanity and perfection. I try to resist that as much as possible in my work.

ZR: Who do you look to for inspiration? TM: I always look through my favorite images when I'm feeling a bit uninspired; Sally Mann and Paolo Roversi are my top-two photographers. I also go to my parents’ art books. Gustav Klimt is a favorite; I have about five of his books on my shelf right now. However, the only way I've found to really cure a creative rut is to keep taking photos (or whatever medium your art may be).

ZR: Do you see yourself turning your love of photography into your work? TM: Absolutely. I plan on going to college for photography and then ultimately making it into a career. I really want to incorporate travel into my work as well.

ZR: In the spirit of I Heart Daily, anything you're “hearting” at the moment? TM: In terms of music I listen to a lot of Arcade Fire, Bob Dylan, Philip Glass, Lou Reed, and Beach House. Clothing-wise, I love my burgundy Dr. Martens boots, which I wear practically every day.


RED Hearts guest poster Zulay Regalado is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.