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Lisa Mossel Vietze Interview

Lisa Mossel Vietze is macro photographer from Maine, USA. Flowers are her favorite subject as they feel like a bridge between the form and the formless
image taken by Lisa Mossel Vietze

all i ever wanted

Can you tell us how you started your photographic journey?

I’ve always been drawn to strong visuals, whether they appeared in fashion magazines or in National Geographic. I moved to Maine after college and Maine is where I found my personal and artistic voice. I had a slow start in photography but the spark came in the mid 1990’s when my in laws gave me my first manual camera, a Canon AE-1. I began by diving into landscapes and exploring the photography of Ansel Adams. I began with the intention of making large landscape images full of drama and space with grand, far-off vistas in which I could hope to escape from childhood misery. I’m self-taught through adult education classes and many week-long intensives at Maine Media Workshops.

image taken by Lisa Mossel Vietze

under the sea

Who or what inspires you the most?

I am increasingly drawn to forms, vitality, and the vibrations of color found in botanicals. I found my camera diving more and more into the world of macro photography, particularly the botanical world. I stopped chasing the horizon and began to search my own backyard. I explore the coasts, woods, fields, and gardens of Maine seeking to discover what is beautiful on any given day. My search for beauty in my surroundings is much like my own search for the Divine. The color and vitality of flowers is like a salve for me. I make these images to heal and draw me deeper into my own living.

Flora is not only delicate, flora is resilient. Plants exist despite poor environment, and even bloom. For me, flora reminds me of what exists within myself and has since the beginning – resilience, power, and beauty. With my camera and intuition as tools, I seek the essence of a flower.

image taken by Lisa Mossel Vietze

waiting for release

How would you describe your photography style?

My images are full of color first and foremost, and with that components like a strong graphic quality or conversely a dreamlike feel may exist hand in hand with the color. The goal is to move beyond the typical floral snapshot. Many of my images have a very, very shallow depth of field as sometimes to me, the most interesting part of the photograph is what’s behind or to the side of the subject in focus.

image taken by Lisa Mossel Vietze

This caascade

What kind of gear do you use?

My process of making images brings me directly into nature, gardens, woods, fields etc. and the goal is to connect with my environment and the beauty of everyday life. Therefore, my gear is always very simple. I learned on slide film with a Canon AE1 so I learned to do everything that camera could do. I didn’t want to be distracted by gear, technically or by the weight in the field, so I keep it very simple. I want to be light and mobile in the field. I typically find myself in awkward positions to make an image by crawling around so I need to be nimble and flexible gear wise. I don’t use a tripod unless I’m really striving for a lot of depth of field, which is quite rare. I was slow to change to digital because my aim is to keep my images as close to what I capture as possible. I don’t add or remove elements or use filters, layers, etc. 95% of the work you see is what I created in the field. One lens – my 100mm Canon 2.8 Macro lens.

image taken by Lisa Mossel Vietze

Tell us about your process; what techniques do you use? What photo-editing program do you use?

My goal is to be in the field as much as possible and to make as many images as I can from April – November when there are botanical subjects. I don’t want to spend my time at my computer so I do my processing during the winter months, which in Maine is long enough. I process very lightly as want to share what I saw, and what the viewer can also see when they look very closely.

What have been your biggest challenges and achievements?

My biggest challenge was to give myself permission to make the images only I can make. With no art school background, I found myself sensitive to what work usually exists in the fine art photography world – documentary, street, landscapes, portraits, certainly not a lot of botanical photography. It is often also gritty and dark, and I wanted to contribute beauty. Images come from the heart, mind, experience and muse and if one is truly in tune with their voice, their work will be inspired and that will translate to the viewer.

image taken by Lisa Mossel Vietze

whirl wind

Have you got any advice/tips for a photographer just starting out with macro photography?

Figure out HOW you want to make images and then determine what the minimal gear you need to make those images. Don’t pile on too much gear that can be a distraction and keep you from finding your voice.

Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?

I’d say Under the Sea is one of my favorites, but I might pick a different one on a different day. This one, though, has many different elements. For me, it’s surprising, beautiful, love the blue in the seeds, and it seems like it’s from another world, hence the title, Under the Sea. I also like Revealed because I worked that birch tree for two hours before I found that image.

image taken by Lisa Mossel Vietze

blue river iris ------------------------------------------ Deco web -------------------------------------- revealed

Best thing about your life right now?

I’m really grateful for living in Maine and being able to go outside in my yard whenever I want to reconnect and slow down. Being home more has enabled me to build a raised bed garden which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m also grateful that my family is healthy and all together as that is something that is very important to me. My oldest son leaves for college in the fall, perhaps, so we’re treasuring the special moments together as a family.

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