Banff Becomes This Gypsy Girl

In her first post for our Art + Soul department, local photographer and artist, Tiffany Teske, takes the opportunity to introduce herself. You may recognize a bit of yourself in the story of what drew Tiffany to the Bow Valley and the life she has discovered here. -Highline

“So, what do you think?” my husband asked me.

Tiffany took a series of double exposure series of double exposure Polaroid Spectra photographs while pushing her daughter around Banff in her stroller. Photo courtesy Tiffany Teske.

He had just been headhunted for the position of General Manager at Mount Norquay in Banff.

All I knew about Banff was that it was on the opposite side of the country, that it had “postcard” beauty, and that it boasted a lively party scene.

“Well,” I said as I cuddled our six-month-old baby and looked around our year-old home in the picturesque Gatineau Hills, “You have always wanted to ski out West… now you can live there, too. Let’s go!”

As my reaction suggests, I have always been a bit of a gypsy; gathering inspiration, formulating grand plans, and then going with the flow wherever life takes me. I have relocated many times in the past decade or so, living in four major cities, on two islands, and in two rural ski resort towns including Wakefield, QB, where we were living at the time my husband popped the “Banff” question.

The family explores their new home. Photo courtesy Tiffany Teske.

As a professional photographer and artist, I believe I can find inspiration in anything, anywhere. So westward we went!

We drove from Calgary to the Bow Valley on a full-moon night in December, 2006. The beauty and grandeur of our new mountain home was apparent from the beginning. The history of this place, the spirit of her people, the close proximity of wildlife, the influx of tourists, and the cosmopolitan nature of the town all combine to create a culture where I am continually inspired and can artistically thrive.

All of my senses were awakened as I photographed the day-to-day details of a life in Banff: the shadows on the snow, the trees as they changed with the seasons, the birds in flight, the elk eating jack o’ lanterns, and the people and their impact on this place.

A next generation mountain dweller? Photo courtesy Tiffany Teske.

began to create mixed media work that was intimate, personal, and better than anything I had created before. I am not an adrenaline junkie in an outdoor sense, but I get an addictive buzz from creating art, forging friendships and becoming part of a community.

It has been the people, especially, that have made the greatest impression on our family. Many Bow Valley locals have wandering pasts like my own, so my community here has grown quickly. And I am always grateful to witness the joy on the faces of tourists as they see our mountains for the first time.

Our connection to this place is already strong and I can’t imagine leaving. What a huge thing for a gypsy to say!

How does the Bow Valley inspire you? Your creativity? Your art? I would love to hear from you and to possibly feature you in a blog.
Author Image

Tiffany Teske runs with scissors and runs amuck but rarely runs out of steam. She has two kiddo sidekicks with whom she bakes treats for tea parties, stages photo shoots during dress up, and holds dance parties between hugs and opportunities to be doused in glue and glitter. Tiffany hoards Polaroid film and old photographs of other people’s families. She could not live without bread, wine, chocolate, olives, and cheese. She has written, photographed, and made art for cupcakes, home grown produce, chiropractic services, haircuts, vacations, and art.