Interview of Frances Weger by Sophie Pellegrini // I have always thought that people were the most interesting thing to photograph. People’s expressions, styles, passions, and personalities are something I am always trying to capture in a portrait.
Hi Frances! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am 16 and living in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently a sophomore in high school.
How did you get started in photography?
A couple of my friends started to get into photography, so I became interested, too. In the 7th grade, my friend received a point-and-shoot camera from her parents one Christmas and we started to take photos. She quickly dropped interest but I fell in love with taking photos.
When I started taking photos I was blind to anything else I could photograph. I have always thought that people were the most interesting thing to photograph. People’s expressions, styles, passions, and personalities are something I am always trying to capture in a portrait.
Tell us a little about your artistic work process.
I have multiple processes, it depends on what I am photographing. If I am shooting some self-portraits, I grab all of the lamps I can find in the house and all my colored light bulbs. I play some music and try to find what mood I am going to go for. Then I go from there. When producing any images, my process has been to start with my initial idea and follow my gut the rest of the way. When I am out with my friends, I always have my camera. So if someone does something I like or the light looks good I will just quickly whip out my camera and take a couple of photos; sometimes I have them pose, sometimes not. When I have a planned shoot with a model or another photographer, I try to get to know them, make sure they are comfortable. Then we both work together to make something we both like.
What do you find most difficult about photography? Most rewarding?
It is really difficult with social media not to compare yourself to all the other photographers. I think the most rewarding is when people tell me that my art inspired them or helped them through something. In my series “All Girl”, I photographed menstrual pads covered in various substances; the point was to show that there is nothing wrong with menstruation. A young woman told me about how she’d get so nervous when she got her period whenever she was staying at a current lover’s house. She mentioned that she had been taught that periods are something to be ashamed of. She told me that she hopes that I never silently suffer through anything; I think about that comment almost everyday.
Highlights of your creative journey so far?
I think the biggest thing that has happened to me was my little interview with Teen Vogue. That was crazy, I didn’t know that my art was that influential. My favorite thing about my journey you could call it, is being able to watch myself grow with my art. I can see myself become more open and vulnerable through my art. I get to watch myself become more in touch with my art. I have developed how to express emotions, mine or others, through photography.
Is gender something you explore in your art?
I try to; most of my recent work hasn’t been exploring gender but I have some new ideas. I try to break gender roles through my work.
What inspires you?
A couple artists who have always inspired me are Olivia Bee, Chad Moore, Maisie Cousins, and a local artist Hana Mendel. They each have such a pinpointed style, you can always tell if it was their work without knowing it beforehand. All of their work is strong; the more I look at their art the more I love it. Music inspires me greatly. When I find a song that inspires me, it is usually because of the mood it gives off. I try to show that mood in a photo.
What are some of your hobbies outside of photography?
When I am not taking photos I am probably writing or napping.
Can you leave us with one of your favorite quotes?
“Don’t stop imagining the day that you do is the day that you die” (From Youth Lagoon’s song 17.)