Fancy Session: Tessa Calogaras

Pronouns: She/Her

Tessa Wears: Bridie Dress - Checkmate | Smiling Daisy Earrings - Gold

Thank you for speaking with us today!

Tell us a bit about what you do?

I’m a marketer for Porirua City Council where I promote Porirua through numerous avenues, most specifically Discover Porirua (@discoverporirua). I also do freelance photography, mainly for local businesses and places around
the Wellington region.

What do you find inspiring about living in Te Whanganuia-a-Tara?

I find the creativity of Wellington so inspiring. I feel like everyone here has a story to tell and something they’re passionate about. I feel like Wellingtonians love giving things a go and support others trying new creative ventures.


What art is inspiring you at the moment?

The art of photography is what is exciting me! I love seeing what people are creating out there, what their eye turns to, what fuels them. I have so many photos saved on my Instagram or Pinterest of beautiful photos I want to try doing myself, figuring out how they did it.

Favourite Spots On Cuba Street?

I mean obviously Madame Fancy Pants! I also love going to Liberty café next door for brunch. I also love Iko Iko, Cre8iveworx, Mary Potter Hospice, Pegasus Books, Ombra, Kaffee Eis, Floriditas… oh my god there’s too many to list!

 How would you describe your personal style and who are your influences?

As I get closer to 30 (6 months to go!) my style has changed from glamour to ease – I was obsessed with Audrey Hepburn when I was in my early twenties. So, I wore a lot of long tight black dresses and bold lipstick. Now that I’m older, my style focuses on what I feel comfortable in, which is typically long, flowy dresses, with a lot of colours paired with a cosy knitted jumper or cardigan and nothing tight around my belly. I want to be able to eat a big meal and not
feel self-conscious about bloating.

I also like to wear comfy shoes, usually with orthopaedic soles as I want something with support while I shoot. I love statement earrings too. I make polymer clay earrings, so I have loads of bold, colourful pieces to complete a look. I went from being dressed in all black and chic, to a style that’s full of baby pinks and blues, floral or gingham, relaxed and natural. The red lipstick has stayed though, nothing makes me feel more confident than lipstick.

What has been your biggest revelation/lesson of the last year?

I think ‘knowing your own worth’ has been a big one as well as calling myself a photographer. I resisted calling myself a photographer for the longest time because I had a huge case of imposter syndrome, and admittedly still do. I feel like I can’t call myself one until I shoot only in manual or know every single setting in my camera, but I’m slowly believing in myself and my abilities more and trying to only hear the good things. Of course, there are days I do a shoot and it hasn’t turned out how I wanted, and I feel awful, but there are also days where I feel like I’ve done amazing work and it feels incredible. It’s a lesson I’m still learning, and perhaps will continue to learn each day. I think that can be a positive though as it pushes me to study and better myself. I never want to suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect!

What music are you listening to currently?

Gosh, I’ve been binging Bo Burnham’s Inside album for a year now. That show and soundtrack really struck a chord in me. I feel like it’s the ultimate millennial album, from songs about turning 30 and all your friends having children, to panic attacks, and feeling like the world is ending. Woo! Sufjan Stevens music is super beautiful too.

What inspires your photography?

I think beauty inspires me. That beauty could come from vibrant colours, adorable neighbourhood cats, stunning sunsets, or a smiling face. What I love about getting into photography is that it’s taught me to see more beauty in the world. Pay more attention. Now I feel like I seek it out, I spend that extra moment looking for something beautiful, and no matter where I am, and if I have my camera or not, I always find it.

Favourite photo you've taken so far?

Oh gosh, this changes every day, I don’t think I can pick one! I think whatever I post on Instagram or my portfolio is what I like most. I think photos of cats or flowers are my favourite, however landscapes usually get the most love – but I never feel like I can take credit for a landscape shot, I’m just incredibly lucky to live somewhere so beautiful!

Photography by Finn Aroha - She/They

Leave a comment