Mascha Joustra

Although living in a city in the northern part of The Netherlands, Dutch photographer Mascha Joustra (Photo Academy Amsterdam, 2015) is always longing to return to the countryside of her childhood in the south, below the two large rivers that divide the country. Down there, ‘below the rivers’, the language, the attitude and even the religion is very different. Down there the people are less tough, less distant and more joyful. In her series Elders (translated: Elsewhere) she wanders through her new habitat and seeks for a tension between the two places. The people she meets remind her of the people of her past, however somehow she cannot easily reach them. ‘I meet witches, farmers and animals and I wander through fairs and circuses. Is the history of the Catholic (south) versus Protestant (north) religion causing differences in people’s behaviour? I am still finding out,’ she explains. Elders shows her on-going quest in dreamlike black-and-white images that are sometimes interrupted by images of reality in colour. It is this dichotomy that creates the story, a story of searching for the past that can never be found again.