Minecraft's chief storyteller has been honored by Hasselblad

Lydia Winters
Taken on a Hasselblad X1D II 50C, XCD 80mm (Image credit: Lydia Winters)

Photography is something that Lydia Winters has grown up with. Always known as the person with a camera in hand, from a young age photography wasn’t just about capturing memories – it was about documenting details, too. 

Recently Lydia was recognized in the Forbes 30 under 30 series for leading a technological and artistic revolution as the chief storyteller of Mojang Studios (the developer of the Minecraft videogames). When she’s not organizing the annual MineCon convention or working with the Minecraft community, Lydia’s passion is for product photography (specifically watches) in places of natural beauty. 

Although originally from the States, Lydia now lives in Stockholm, Sweden and can regularly be found hiking or taking pictures for one of her two photography Instagram accounts. Following the announcement that she was names as one of this year's Hasselblad Heroines, we got in contact with Lydia to discuss her journey and find out what challenges she’s faced. 

How old were you when you first took up photography

I first took up photography when I was quite young. When we would go on family vacations, I would always have a camera in my hands trying to not only capture memories but also to capture the locations and details of the trip. It became very natural and expected to see me with a camera in my hands. 

Who or what inspired you to do so?

My mom always had a camera with her and she passed that love onto me. Later in life, my wonderful partner, Vu Bui (@bui.watches) became my photography mentor and has personally had the biggest impact on my journey in photography. 

Taken on a Hasselblad X1D II 50C, XCD 80mm (Image credit: Lydia Winters)

Do you have a favorite photo or project you've worked on?

In December, I went on a road trip in Iceland and it turned into my favorite photo project. The landscape and textures in Iceland are incredibly diverse, which offered interesting contrasts for my watches and completely inspired me. I photographed a body of work that highlights my watches through the beautiful textures of southern Iceland – from chunks of ice, to frozen leaves, to basalt columns, and moss-covered rocks. I look at these images and they transport me back to a magical place that I can’t wait to visit again.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

The advice I would give to my younger self is to have patience! A photography style develops by continually shooting and doesn’t suddenly happen. I would constantly look at other amazing photographers and wonder how they could have such a defined style – a clear way I could immediately recognize that it was one of their photos. I was always searching for what my style would be. 

When I started shooting projects for myself, I started to see my style emerge. With my flower photography (@enjoythewander) and my watch photography (@winters.watches) it became more defined. By being authentic to myself instead of trying to replicate others, I developed a style that’s uniquely me. 

Taken on a Hasselblad X1D II 50C, XCD 120mm (Image credit: Lydia Winters)

What does it mean to you on being chosen as a Hasselblad Heroine?

Being chosen as a Hasselblad Heroine is one of my life highlights! I’ve loved the Hasselblad brand for years and have been following the program since its launch. To be chosen alongside such incredible women in collaboration with a brand I love is humbling and a huge honor. My goal is to make photography more accessible, for there to be more knowledge-sharing, and to get more women into photography – so my values align perfectly with the Hasselblad Heroines program.

What has been your biggest obstacle in getting to where you are?

My biggest obstacle has been my self-confidence as a photographer. In an age where your photography almost feels like it is rated (through likes) it can create a vacuum where you want to do the same thing over and over instead of experimenting. As soon as I let go of my self-imposed view of photography “success,” I was able to be truly creative and enjoy photography again.

Read more:

Hasselblad Heroine recipients 2022
22 pioneering women in photography
10 queer photographers you should follow on Instagram

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.