IJfke Ridgley ’02

Lake Titicaca

It has been my blessing – and curse – in life to have insatiable wanderlust. The need to travel to the farthest places my imagination can go, to smell all the smells and taste all the flavors and to live a hundred lives in countless places. The thrill of travel for me is finding the adventure in the mundane, while the challenge is finding the comfort in the chaos. Everyday chores, the monotonous parts of life, are suddenly infused with a sense of adventure (and yes, sometimes extreme confusion or loneliness) when done in a new place. At the same time, I’m constantly looking for a bit of routine, a glimpse of familiarity, a sense of home in that sensory overload. I yearn for my small island in the sea I was so desperate to leave. When I return, I bask in the sun a little longer, smell the flowers a little stronger, and realize my perspective has been forever shifted.

This photo was taken sailing between the floating reed islands of Uros on Peru’s Lake Titicaca. I photographed her in the same way I’ve photographed fashion – with an obsession with color and clothing. This is a reminder that no matter where in the world I go, I cannot escape the perspective of my own experience. And with each new experience, my perspective shifts again.

Fashion and travel photographer IJfke Ridgley has been taking photographs since her ninth grade, black-and-white photography class with Alex Selarque at Punahou. “I remember thinking at the time, ‘Isn’t it crazy that some people do this for a living?’ not equating what I did in my spare time – dressing up my friends and having them pose around O‘ahu – with anything close to the work that he showed us in class,” she says. “Now, many years later, I do it for a living. And I can honestly say that after travel, but preferably with, photography is the love of my life.” More of her work can be viewed at www.ijfke.com or on Instagram @ijfkephoto.

© IJfke Ridgley

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