Joya: AiR / Benjamin Robinson / Australia
“Joya: AiR has provided a platform for me to experiment with my photographic practice in a truly refreshing environment. As I am currently based in Sydney, I applied for a two-week residency back in February as I also intended to spend time travelling throughout Spain beforehand. After jumping between the major cities for the best part of a month, I could sense that I was in for a fascinating residency by the breathtaking mountain ranges which were visible along the bus ride from Granada. I was greeted by Simon at Vélez Rubio and felt instantly welcome into the Joya: AiR community. The living spaces of the house allowed for the perfect platform from which creativity and experimentation could develop. The sense of cleanliness, comfort and modern sustainable design has played a major part in my creative thinking and freedom throughout my stay.
Each day I explored new regions within the seemingly boundless surroundings of the property. At first I climbed up rigorous formations of rock and clay to reach the peak of the highest (immediately) surrounding mountain. The vista of the Sierra de María-Los Vélez Natural Park was so magnificent that I chose not to photograph it; I felt I had to consider more about this natural environment before devising a way to document it. The following few days saw me explore the nearby barranco, a naturally formed ravine which winds deep into the rugged forestation. I found inspiration from the endless sense of freeformity, and the timeless array of fossils scattered along the dry clay surface. Walking through barranco each day provided me with a fresh headspace which I could bring back into the studio at the house. I have been experimenting with watercolour ink painting, a process which has not previously been part of my practice. Joya: AiR has offered a platform for me to explore new modes of creation inspired by the dense, purely natural environment that surrounds the property. The landscape has offered a creative challenge in the sense that every area you visit is not exactly that of a ‘post-card’ picture. However, I have felt as though my creative process has been revitalized by the ability to experiment with new processes in response to my personal meditation of the vast natural surroundings. I look forward to returning to this incredible place in the future in the hope that I can one day I experience this refreshing state of mind once again”.