Justine, like me, lives in the North-west Highlands of Scotland but where I live on the coast of south Skye, she resides halfway up a mountain in mainland Scotland, with no vehicular access. While I have close neighbours, the only building close to Justine is empty. She carries everything she needs, including logs for the fire, up the mountain. She has three electric sockets in her house, one slow cooker and no hot running water. Her water is supplied by a burn, further up the mountain – the pipework she services herself.
Justine sees the outdoors as her sanctuary and her life up a mountain has deepened her connection with nature. Like me, she uses the camera to connect with the landscape and its viewfinder to focus on what is important and to distance oneself from other aspects of the world that are not. She refers to her photography not as an act of “taking” but rather as a process of “receiving”. I too, consider myself to be waiting for the landscape, or natural aspects of it, to reveal themselves to me in an ephemeral moment. We both see photography as a pursuit that allows us to immerse ourselves in a special place and through photography capture its spirit.
There are similarities too in the techniques we use. Justine also uses intentional camera movement and combines images in the camera. For example, her collection Fiodh https://www.justineritchie.com/work/fiodhaig, meaning wood, combines multiple exposures to create abstract images of hazel and beech trees. I admire the subtle aesthetic while giving a sense of the chaotic and entangled nature of the wood on the Isle of Eigg. Her work has encouraged me to experiment more with multiple exposures and intentional camera movement and to play with my camera.
Thank you, Justine, for your inspiration.