Originally from Minneapolis, Tess grew up playing on the many lakes in Minnesota, which is where her love for water first began. While she was 18, studying photojournalism at the University of Montana, she went to river guide school and fell in love. Running rivers was her gateway to adventure sports, and opened her eyes to the lovely simplicity of living in the backcountry. Over a decade later, she is still dedicated, working as a professional river guide. Tess has run over 35,000 miles in many different states and countries. Her favorite part of guiding is showing people why fierce, yet fragile landscapes and wilderness need our appreciation and protection.
Tess’ photography has taken her around the world, working at publications from Kalamazoo to Kathmandu. Being on the road with her camera in hand is where she feels at home, and thrives on the strong pulse of feeling free. She has found that there are beautiful stories to be told near and far, and everyone has a story worth telling. She believes that the power of photography can change the world, and that art, combined with wild places, can cure all.
Between guiding and traveling, Tess sparked an interest to become a teacher. She currently teaches photography and filmmaking at an independent boarding school outside of Santa Barbara, California, near the central coast. Tess is most passionate about experiential education and learning by doing outside of a typical classroom setting. She has learned to lead life with her heart as her guide, and is honored to teach and help others do the same. She believes in living bravely, working hard and loving without regret.
A few of her favorite things in life are: rowing boats, legitimate tacos, anything turquoise, being tall, funky leggings, practicing yoga, fresh powder, her two younger brothers and telling stories.
Tess is currently working on a bus conversion project to combine freelance photography work and adventure travel.