In addition to being the head storyteller at Mojang Studios, creators of the popular Minecraft video game, Lydia Winters has also become known for her product photography where she specializes in watches and inspires others looking to step into underrepresented spaces.
Storytelling in video games and photos
Winters, based in Sweden, creates stories for a living, whether it’s video games or product photography. When she started at Mojang Studios, she was the first woman to join the company. Today, she is the head storyteller of Minecraft, a game that attracts players from all over the world and has received critical acclaim. His creativity needed another outlet, however, and Winters found it in photography.
“I started product photography a little over a year ago and started with simple images of my watches,” says Winters. PetaPixel. “I began to learn that in product photography there is a balance between emphasizing the subject while creating an interesting overall aesthetic.”
Winters’ approach to product photography is similar to shooting portraits. She decides what features she wants to highlight, how she can make the product stand out from the background, and how the environment can help build the story she tells.
“As soon as I turned to this approach, my photography started to change and I felt my style emerge,” she says. “With editing, I’ve realized that’s my least favorite part of photography, so I’m working to get as much as possible straight into the camera!”
In search of the perfect camera
Her current camera system is Hasselblad, a brand that also recognized Winters’ accomplishments and named her Hasselblad Heroine. But the road to finding the right camera system hasn’t been easy.
“I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘golden loop’ camera system,” says Winters. “I’ve tried almost every camera system – Fuji, Nikon, Canon, Olympus and Leica – and hesitated between film and digital systems and cameras.”
“I loved that the film cameras helped me slow down and focus on composition, but I also loved the immediacy of digital photography,” adds Winters. “In 2012, I bought my first Hasselblad camera, a 500CM, and fell in love with medium format film. I shot magic film during my sister’s wedding – they are still my most treasured shots. I understood the magic of shooting with a Hasselblad, but quickly returned to digital photography because it suited my lifestyle.
In 2017 Winters bought the Hasselblad 501C and shot daily for 100 days, and in 2020 tried the Hasselblad X1D II 50C, and “it was love at first click”. From the first time she picked it up, she knew this was the camera for her.
“My photography is about feelings and I connect to the soul of Hasselblad,” says Winters. “I finally found the camera that combined my love of medium format with form, design and digital. With Hasselblad, I finally found a camera brand and system that fits my photography philosophy and style, and inspires me to want to shoot more.
Ditch the trends and find your unique style
During her photography journey, Winters realized that she had tried “desperately” to follow the styles and trends of other talented photographers, which for the most part meant following what men were doing in the industry. .
Breaking free from the constraints of preconceived limitations imposed on herself, Winters realized that creating and capturing her own stories made her fall in love with photography all over again. And that helped her develop her own style, regardless of what other people are doing.
“You can’t develop your style when you’re busy trying to replicate yourself or comparing yourself to others,” says Winters. “As an individual, it’s about being true to who you are, standing up for what you believe in and what your art says about you.”
“For women and people of color, we have unique stories and perspectives that help our images stand out,” she adds. “Instead of getting away from what makes me who I am, I got closer to him.”
As Winters grows her photography business, she contributes to the photo community by posting behind-the-scenes footage and sharing tips for product photography, which attracts followers who share similar values to hers and those seeking inspiration. ‘inspiration.
It’s part of his community mindset that Winters takes from Minecraft so he can inspire others to create something unique of their own.
In addition to sharing advice, Winters also actively connects with women and people of color, as she wants to ensure the community she interacts with has broader representation. It’s another piece that Winters pulled from his experience working in the video game industry, having felt what it’s like to be the minority in a piece.
“More diversity and representation makes our community better,” she says.
So far, photography has helped Winters express her creativity in abundance, as she “loves” every step of the photographic process – from concept creation to creative direction and image taking. There’s no reason for Winters to slow down going forward.
“I definitely have lots of ideas!” Winters said. “I would love to collaborate with major watch brands on their photographic storytelling – to create more inclusive campaigns and change the perspective of watches for men and women on how watches can (and are) worn by anyone.”
More of Winters’ work can be found on her Instagram.
Picture credits: Photos by Lydia Winters.