Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Priska Wettstein and I was born and raised in Switzerland. When I was 40, I emigrated to the Yukon, Dawson City to be exact, which is in the very North of Canada. I started taking pictures in 1998 on a regular basis, that was with film back then. But it all really started when I've got my first digital camera, that was in 2008. Pretty soon I always had my camera with me. Right now I am using a Nikon D800E.
What subject matter or type of images do you create?
I would describe my images as dreamy, sometimes even whimsical, sometimes a bit dark. But there is always a simplicity to it, a calmness and maybe even a hint of melancholia. My favorite subjects are flowers, ravens, trees and the vast landscapes of the Yukon. Wildlife as well, whenever I am able to take a photo of it, that is. A great many of my images are in the square format as this is what seems to suit my images best most of the time.
Your images resemble beautiful paintings on a canvas, how do you achieve this effect?
Lots of people refer to my images as paintings. I always explain that all my pictures start as a photo and that they are edited in Photoshop. Back when I started with digital photos, I stumbled upon an image on the internet that was edited with textures. This really fascinated me so I started to do some online research and tried it myself. And it all started from there. I am completely self-taught, both in photography and editing. I think that is a big part of why my images have my own unique style.
What I do exactly is hard to explain in details, but basically, it's working with many layers in Photoshop. Making an image softer, changing colors of part or all of it, adding textures, and changing their blending modes. There is really not much more to it. Texture is the main thing. One can make their own textures by taking pictures of peeling paint, old walls, canvases etc. I prefer to buy mine, I must have hundreds of them.
How do you use Lensbaby as part of this process?
Lensbaby allows me to see the world differently when I take photos. And get away from the "it has to be a perfect, tack sharp photo" idea that lingers in the world of photographers. Lensbaby has shown me that there is no such rule. It forces me to see and focus on other things. Perfect is not always good and for sure not always best. I try to take a photo which I can edit as is. Although I do change a lot in post-processing, the focus is in 99 percent of all cases left as is.
What do you want your work to say and/or convey?
I want to bring some quietness and simplicity to the viewers and to myself. The world is busy and complicated enough already. I create my work first for myself. But it is so wonderful to get feedback from people that like them, people that are touched by what I do. I am very humbled and grateful for this.
What inspires and motivates you as an artist?
I think I see the world differently to someone who is not involved with a visual form of art or art at all. I see it all in pictures. Going for walks, being in my backyard, going for drives and stopping to sit still, all inspired me. As well as discovering both the small things around me or the opposite, like big landscapes and skies. Relaxing and being in in nature is good for my soul.
When Im selecting a photo, I will go through them all and find one (or rather it finds me), that wants to be transformed into a picture. Most of the time a finished image will have my emotions, worries, dreams all worked into them. It is a form of therapy for me, a very important one. I can get impatient when I do not have the time because of work or whatever else there is. I have also started to write little poems for my pictures. Whether these words are bad or good, they're mine and are important to me.
What is your favorite Lensbaby lens? And why?
This is very simple to answer - the
What does creativity mean to you?
It is what keeps me going, besides my partner, kid, friends, and my dog. It is as simple as that.
How do you get out of a creative rut?
I get annoyed with myself but I do not give up and stop trying. Or I just keep taking photos and worry about editing them later. I do have days when my creativity is overflowing, and I have to force myself to stop and get rest. And then there are the slower days....but there is almost no day without some creativity.