A Tiny Little Bit of Chaos: The Photography of Priska Wettstein

At first glance, you may not know it’s a photograph. But that’s what the work of Priska Wettstein is—-beautiful photography with a modern twist that gives off an ethereal vibe. Much of her photography is shot in Dawson City, Canada, where Wettstein lives and owns the Aurora Inn, a peaceful inn with an incredible view of the Aurora Borealis, with her husband. Find out more about Priska, her work, and what she surrounds herself with.


 

Surround Yourself: Your photography  has a distinct look—how would you describe it to someone who had never seen it before? 

 

Priska Wettstein: Many people tell me that my images are calming and serene. Most of my work is almost monochrome yet not black and white. Simplicity is another central theme. I get a lot of questions like “Is this a painting?” People are not sure and this is what I want to achieve. Flowers or nature in general will be found in a lot of my work. I would even go so far as to say that the images reflect my personality, my thoughts, joys, and sorrows. I am a person that is very content with being just in my own company and I think this is visible in my work.

 

SY: How did you develop the ability to create the ethereal look of your photography?

 

PW: The outcome of my photography was not what I wanted it to be. One day, I discovered the technique to texture photos on the Internet. This opened a complete new world for me. I had found what I wanted to work with. Again, worked hours to figure out how to work with photoshop, how to manipulate a photo, how to apply textures. When an image is finished, I couldn’t tell how I have it done. I work for several hours to finish a picture and it all happens instinctively, depending on my mood or what i have experienced at the moment I took the photo.

 
SY: You currently reside in Canada, which is known for its beautiful landscapes and scenery. Has that been a big inspiration for your photography?
 
PW: I live in the North of Canada, the Yukon Territory.  We do own a business in Dawson City, well known for its Klondike Goldrush in the late 19th century, and I am planning on staying in this wonderful, charming little town. Living here has broadened my mind, literally, because the landscape is vast and beautiful and endless. It has inspired me to find new subjects like the Aurora Borealis, that wonderful light in the skies that leaves me in awe every single time I see it. By the way, these are the only photos that I don’t photoshop (except contrast, etc.). It is quite a challenge to find subjects during the long winters and 7 months of snow. But that is a good thing, there is never a boring moment.


 

“caribou

 

“I am very happy with this image. I was at the right moment at the right time. To me, there is the essence of our long winters and the spirit of the land in it. Poplar trees are characteristic for where I live, their white trunks and almost graphic appearance have always fascinated me. Finding this group of caribou right in front of it was such a coincidence and a beautiful moment.”


 

SY: Do you have a photography “bucket list” you’re currently working on? If so, what’s the most interesting thing on it? 
 
PW: I have several wishes or ideas but nothing I am working on right now. Having the time to go out in the bush to take more wild life photos is one of them. Maybe starting to portray the people that live here. This idea has been in my mind for a while now but it needs to take shape first. I will have to get over my on shyness—people are not like flowers.
 
SY: When you’re not out shooting, where do you like to work on your images?
 
PW: My home is the only place where I work on my images.  It needs to be quiet and I have to have my own private environment surrounding me.
 
SY: Tell us about your home. Do you have a favorite spot? 
 
PW: This is easy to answer for me. It is the Tombstone Territorial Park. It is along the Dempster Highway, the only road in Canada where one can cross the Arctic Circle. There are almost no people, not much traffic. Just beautiful nature, vast and serene and undisturbed. Tundra, rough, wild. This place touches something deep inside me. Hard to describe. This is where I go whenever I can to recharge, body and soul. Our business doesn’t allow to much leisure time but this makes every moment even more precious.


 

“Tombstone

 

“One of my favourite spots in the Tombstone Territorial Park. This pictures was taken right after a heavy thunderstorm with hail was rolling over the valley. The mood up there changes in a matter of minutes. To me, this image shows how powerful this land is.”


 

SY: What inspires you to continue shooting new things each day?
 
PW: I feel lost without having a camera with me, that is why I just got a small digital camera to have one all the times in reach. Going for walks and find a subject, take pictures of it from every angle is very meditative. And so is working on my computer. It just balances my work life and private life. I miss it dearly if there is no time for it.  This is why I am doing it and why I keep going with it. It started out for my own sake and peace of mind.
 
It was another step to put my images online, to see and hear what other people think. The next big step for me was putting up images everywhere in our hotel. I get wonderful comments direct from guests, where people are able to buy works off the wall. And they do.
 
It is so amazing to sell an artwork online. I am happy every single time. Selling it direct is even better, when I get to talk to my costumers. I am truly grateful for this opportunity. So to make it short, the reward is my sanity and knowing that there are people out there who love a work enough to buy it.


 

“Deadly

 

“Deadly Beauty, an image of arctic monkshood. These fragile flowers are some of my favourites. Beautiful, delicate, and deadly at the same time.”


 

SY: What’s next for you as a photographer and artist?
 
PW: I always try to develop myself further. This is where I put my focus. Since I am living on a very remote place, putting my work online is the best way to reach people. Maybe there will be a exhibition in the future but this is something that time will show. I am not forcing anything, that wouldn’t be me.
 
SY: What do you surround yourself with? 
 
PW: There isn’t much that I need to be happy. My family, my small circle of friends, music, good books and nature. And a tiny little bit of chaos. That is all I need.


 

Thanks, Priska! Shop Priska’s full collection on Imagekind.