This Photographer Will Have You Doing a Double-Take

Gustav Willeit was born and bred in Italy, and grew up in the majestic Dolomite region in the North of the country: landscapes and travel are in his blood, as we saw last time with his open-road photography series Ster. So his ongoing series Perspe comes as no surprise; in it, Gustav subtly manipulates his landscape photographs to create uncannily unreal spaces, reflected on themselves with tiny spot-the-diff changes. Blink, and you’ll miss the difference.


The first Perspe was taken and created back in 2002 in Zurich during his time as a student at the F+F School for Art and Design, and Gustav has grown into a faithful fan of travel, Canon cameras and Photoshop since. “For me Photoshop is like drawing,” he shares with us; it’s his way of sketching out places that only he can otherwise see.

The Italian creative now works as a freelancer between Italy and Switzerland; a sure tell that he’s a wandering man at heart.


THE PLUS: How have you been since your time shooting Ster?
Gustav Willeit:
Very good. I was able to travel a lot, and get inspiration for new series.

TP: You’re drawn to symmetry in Ster and in Perspe; is it satisfying to see this kind of order in the world?  
In some ways, yes, it is. Symmetry is aesthetic, and simple, and clear. It fascinates me. 


TP: What inspired Perspe’s unique kind of photo manipulation?
Actually it was one of the first things I wanted to try when I started to manipulate pictures digitally. After a while I realised that this was a project that I’d be continuing with for a long time.

TP: Do you take photos with Perspe in mind?
Not always. Usually when I am in front of a landscape I already imagine how it could turn
out as part of the series, but it can also happen that I see the Perspe in the image just when I sit in front of the computer.


TP: What attracts you to landscape photography, in particular?
I grew up in the midst of nature and I feel my roots are there. I search for isolated and
lonely spaces, because for me it’s when you are alone, surrounded by nature, that you can really
feel its greatness.

TP: So you seem to be a bit of a traveller?
To travel is one of my great passions. I try to travel as often as I can. I think it’s the best way to invest my free time. It’s also an enriching activity, as I learn something new every time that I travel.


TP: What advice would you give to someone looking to capture the essence of a landscape?
Go into nature whenever you can, take your time when you are there, and embrace it.
This is not only good for taking pictures, but also for yourself.

TP: You break down natural landscapes in this series; what is it that you build?
I like to transform a place that exists in reality and create a new space, and by doing so, to give life to a place that only exists in my mind.

TP: You apply digital technology to nature – where do you think digital art will take us next?
Technology always makes us wonder. Sometimes it seems like we’ve already seen it all, but I’m sure there are great things yet to come.