OPEN BOOK: Inside Frances Weger's Beautiful Teenage Wasteland

Still in high school but already making waves in the art world, Ohio photographer Frances Weger captures the ethereal mystery of small town youth.

Whether it's gathering her friends for an impromptu photo shoot, snapping scenes at her local hangout in Ohio, or capturing a moment with a self-portrait in a reflection, 15-year-old photographer Frances Wegner's images take on the voice of a place and time, of home and of youth. There is an ethereal quietness to the people and places she captures - a moment of aloneness without loneliness, that feeling of looking into the future but taking your time with the present. 

We talk to the emerging artist about her ability to capture young adulthood on camera, her inspiration and her experience being raised Period Proud.

A shot from Frances' LENA photo shoot (left) and a self-portrait (right)

 

What are three words to describe your photography?

Nostalgic, electric, warm.

 

What was the first piece of artwork you made?

I have had access to all kinds of crafts and painting materials for as long as I can remember. My first piece of artwork was probably a mess of craft supplies glued and assembled onto a piece of construction paper.

 

What inspires you?

I could go on for so long about what inspires me, but I am going to narrow it down to people. I am inspired by people's personalities, style, and bodies. Personally, how somebody presents themselves through music or style.

Who do you look up to?

Petra Collins, Tavi Gevinson, Nan Goldin and my mother.

 

What draws you to want to photograph a specific subject or person?

What compels me to take someone’s photo can be anything – the light on their face, the colors by them, something they did. It's about how they present themselves or what situation they are in.

What's one thing you miss about being a kid?

I miss being more carefree than I am today. When I was younger I didn't care at all about what people thought. I had a very steady childhood so I really didn't have much to worry about. I definitely miss having mac and cheese for every meal and being very alright with it.

 

What's one thing you definitely don't miss?

I don't miss how I couldn't do anything on my own. Now that I'm older (not much older, I'm still fifteen) I can go places on my own and have much more freedom.

When or where are you most content?

I am most happy in summer. Whether it's under the blistering sun or the city night lights. Summer is the time when I am with all my friends and I am constantly creating. I don't have school to take up my time so I am constantly looking to make more.

 

Why do you choose to use a cup?

I have discovered that using a cup has many pros. By using a cup during my period I create much less waste than I would by using pads or tampons. I am a big environmentalist so this is a big perk.

 

Periods used to be taboo to discuss in public or in art but now a lot of young people are celebrating their periods. How do you stay Period Proud?

I always remember that periods are a completely natural occurrence. I think of all of the wonderful things that periods allow to happen. Fortunately, I was raised by a mother that taught me that periods are a wonderful natural thing that shouldn't be shamed.



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