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.

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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.

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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?  
GW:
In some ways, yes, it is. Symmetry is aesthetic, and simple, and clear. It fascinates me. 

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TP: What inspired Perspe’s unique kind of photo manipulation?
GW:
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?
GW:
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.

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TP: What attracts you to landscape photography, in particular?
GW:
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?
GW:
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.

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TP: What advice would you give to someone looking to capture the essence of a landscape?
GW:
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?
GW:
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?
GW:
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.

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