By Jai Mayhew
Local fashion photographer, Jai Mayhew, has a knack for capturing beauty on film. From her experience working in New York to shooting for Vogue Italia, this creative talks about her inspiration for her work.
Holding an understated glance, hyper extended arm, or reassuring stare, those in Jai Mayhew’s photography exude a story of unguarded emotion that she strives to convey with every picture.
“Being a woman has set me apart,” said Mayhew, who at 27, has found a niche through fashion editorials that “celebrate female sensuality.”
Stemming from an art modeling background, Mayhew has solidified her ability to direct subjects with the right pose for every frame. “A lot of what I learned gets to live on,” she said. “Your experiences are invaluable and that’s how you grow.”
Mayhew has gained expertise learning from the markets in New York and Los Angeles. Now locally based, she has built a platform collaborating amid some of the most prominent figures in the Austin industry putting its talent on an international scale with her portfolio for Vogue Italia online.
“I’m like a kid in a candy store,” said Mayhew, elaborating on the vast amount of citywide designer and artist inspirations. Although aware of difficulties attached to staying power in the business, the full-time photographer has understood the value of networking early on – often partnering with stylist Edith Henry , noted for her role as Austin Lifestyle Magazine’s Style Editor. The two collaborated on Mayhew’s recent Vogue Italia photo, “Unforgiven” (amongst others), and it is this type of professional work ethic that has sets her apart from the rest.
“You have to push your limits,” said Mayhew. “If you don’t put yourself out there no one’s going to see you.”
A woman of versatile talents, Mayhew serves as makeup artist on some of her own photo shoots, utilizing her work as a creative outlet for memorable self expression. The current ongoing series, “Chocolat” is a collection of black and white photos inspired by the grainy shadows of French Nior. Participating in this project, and throughout Mayhew’s featured profiles respectively, UT alumnus Taylor Dean McCausland evokes the photography’s aim for exploring mystics of internal evolution and change. Transitioning from an established modeling career to her first love-- film, McCausland’s journey stands as a testimonial towards Mayhew’s strong influence in the fashion community.
“Be afraid and do it anyway,” Mayhew says, inspired from the father of modern photojournalism Henri Cartier-Bresson’s quote, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” The quote keeps her ambitious yet humble.
“A beautiful picture makes you stop and stare”, she said. “If you ask someone to define beauty they’d have a hard time doing it, but they recognize it when they see it and it stays with you.”
A born risk taker, Mayhew’s natural instinct for precision reminds us that sometimes beauty is in the eye of the camera holder.