Behind the Lens with Photographer Re Wikstrom
Just before her debut performance at the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival's Pro Photographer Showdown, we caught up with photographer Re Wikstrom…
Name: Re Wikstrom
Hometown: Stamford, CT (random, I know.)
Currently living: Salt Lake City, UT
Years skiing: 27
Go-karts or scuba diving? C'mon now… I just spent 6 weeks on the road and wanted to keep driving for another 6… almost lost my license in college -an unfortunate side affect of driving too fast, luckily the speed limits are higher out west. And whenever my brother would let me drive his car in an autocross I could win Women's FTD. My car sucks for autocross and I don't have the money to make it faster, so…. in the meantime… Yeah… I'm not really into scuba diving.
Digital or film? Film is SO beautiful, and I held out longer than a lot of other photogs, but it sure is a pain in the arse to deal with.
Paper or plastic? Reusable shopping bag! Preferably with large handle to sling over shoulder (sounds simple, but there are some small handled bags out there). If I forget one of them, though, I alternate, because the plastics can be recycled, but the paper is great for cooling baked goods. Mmmmm, cookies.
1. You live in Salt Lake City and are a photographer at backcountry.com. I heard you have a new job there? How did you get started, what are you doing now and do you have any special trips planned for photos?
I've been working at Backcountry.com since 2004. I thought I would just get a restaurant job in Utah so I could work at night and shoot photos during the day, but everyone said I needed experience. The only experience I had was in photography. I also tried to get a job in the warehouse and in customer service at BC.com before pretty much stumbling into a job shooting product photos for their content department. About 2 years ago I started helping out our Creative Services department as they were looking to expand the photo-side of things. And about 4 weeks ago I started full time with that department. I am still shooting photos, but the style, content, and end-goal has changed. This department is essentially an in-house ad agency. We shoot anything they need from studio products, to action, to location setups. It's been really great expanding the scope of my action work from skiing into other action and outdoor sports (mountain biking, road cycling, rafting, trail running, camping, hiking, bouldering, etc.). We don't have any more trips planned just yet, but I did just return from a camping shoot in Bishop, CA.
2. Before you started the new position I got a visit from you in Whistler while you where on a six week road trip. Where did you go, how many helicopters did you fly in and how was your dad?
Oh gosh! I went all over! Mostly in BC though. I really do LOVE BC! The people are SO nice and the skiing is SO fun! Here is a quick synapses… Tyax Lodge, Whistler (with a stomache flu, booo, not sure that counts), Terrace BC, Shames Mountain, Northern Escape Heli, Smithers, BC and Hudson Bay Mountain, Bellingham, WA and Mt Baker, Fernie, BC, Golden, BC and Kicking Horse, Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint Idaho, Missoula, MT and Snowbowl, and a one night stop in Driggs, ID. I was REALLY hoping to get up to Revelstoke to shoot with Leah Evans and crew, but sadly, it didn't work out. We went heli skiing at Tyax and Northern Escape. Great conditions and people at both! And my Dad is awesome! I was able to meet up with him while he was on his annual ski trip with his old ski buddies (of families I learned to ski with since age 3). It was SOOOOO GREAT!
3. Sooo rumours are flying that you are coming back to Whistler to star in the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown. What an honour! How were you chosen and what do you get for being a part of it?
Rumor confirmed! SUCH AN HONOR! I sent in a 3 minute slideshow just like everyone else. The names were stripped from the shows and then presented to a panel of judges who chose the 6 finalists. I get flown up to Whistler and have the honor of being a part of this amazing night of photography!
4. Wow, sounds like you are doing a lot photographing and promoting females in the ski industry and also helping out with Shejumps.org. What is that all about?
Yeah, the way I look at it; it's not much different than any guy that goes out to shoot photos of his buddies. This is just my vision of the world and the things I enjoy shooting photos of. It is decidedly different than a lot of the images of women I grew up seeing in the media. I don't want to make a big deal out of it, I just want to do it and put it out there.
SheJumps is a great non-proft that some friends of mine started and run. Their mission is to increase women's participation in outdoor sports. It's pretty similar to my own mission as a photographer (to support women's freesking in the media) so I love to help them out whenever I can and in any small way I can.
5. And what's the deal with the magazine covers you have been getting?
Oh, I've only had two. The first one was the October 2009 issue of Backcountry Magzine (NO relation to Backcountry.com!) and the second was the October 2010 issue of Backcountry Magazine. Wouldn't it be sweet to make it a trilogy with a 2011 October cover???
7. In the off-season I hear you get as many days on your mountain bike? Another passion?
I am SO IN LOVE with mountain biking! My whole summer generally revolves around bike trips. I like the occasional hiking, backpacking, rafting, or canyoneering trip, but biking is my true summer passion/obsession.
8. Any sponsors or anyone you would like to thank?
I would love to thank all the athletes I have ever worked with! Action photos are not possible without them! And my Dad for taking me skiing at age 3 and planting the seeds for my future, and my mom for being such an amazing and strong female role model! My brother for always sticking up for me in the ski shops when they wanted to give me floppy gear! My boyfriend for believing in me, and all of my friends, because good friends are like gold. And all the other inspiring people in this world! Everyone I have met, and have yet to meet, along this life journey. I would also love to thank Clik Elite for making such fantastic photo packs! They have really made my shooting season THAT MUCH more enjoyable!
This interview is by Holly Walker. Skier and writer Holly Walker lives in Whistler when she is not traveling in search of perfect pow. She is sponsored by K2 Skis, Smith and Pow Gloves.