Ameena Rojee

Ameena Rojee is a portrait and documentary photographer who enjoys telling stories about adventure, the outdoors and our relationship with the natural world. Ameena is also the editor of the Where the Leaves Fall newsletter The Weekly Round Up.

Describe the nature around you at the moment.

For the last three weeks, I’ve been living in the French Alps. Looking out the window is like looking out into a real-life postcard; I’m surrounded by towering mountains on all sides, taller than I’ve ever seen. Snow is slowly covering them day after day as it gets closer to true winter.

In a weird contrast, the sun is out in full most days. The bluest of blue skies dazzle me in the morning when I emerge from the darkness of sleep. Even when I’m walking amongst the steep edges, it feels so unreal and almost superficial. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, both incomprehensibly beautiful and strangely jarring at the same time.

How does photography shape your understanding of nature?

This is such a great question. And actually, I think it was nature that shaped my understanding of photography at first, which in turn led to a deeper understanding of nature. For me, the camera is almost like a microscope, getting me to really focus in on the smallest, sometimes random details. Now, I have that same focus when I’m just walking around, even if it’s just to the supermarket. I don’t think I’d have this way of seeing if it wasn’t for photography.

This has also shaped what I’m actually interested in photographing and being part of. I studied photography at university and, for a long time, I had no idea what I was really interested in. Slowly, as I tried more new things and also made the choice to photograph things I was truly interested in, it led me to activities that have a close connection to the earth; long-distance walking, learning bushcraft, values that have also crossed over to my work life, like working with clients invested in nature and the environment.

Name a place where you feel most at ease?

It really depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes it’s deep in the woods, during the last light, with the most beautiful dappled light coming through the trees. And it’s just been raining and everything is damp and squishy with the drip-drip-drip of the leftover rain. Other times, it’s being wrapped up and cosy at home with my cats and a cup of tea in my hands while it’s miserably grey and raining outside.

Is there anything you’re curious about right now?

How is the river running through this city so blue? Where am I going next? What is it going to feel like going home after being exposed to these mountains? What’s next year going to bring?

What kind of ancestor would you like to be?

One that passes down this growing love and appreciation for the world around me, and this way of seeing that’s focused on the small details.

What are you reading or writing about at the moment?

I recently listened to this great fictional “cli-fi” podcast, No Place But The Water:

And also 28ish Days Later, an incredibly educational podcast about periods. Each episode is only 15 minutes, but each one blew my mind with new and essential information that has helped me understand my cycle on a whole new level:

In terms of writing, it’s mostly writing in my head that’s happening right now. I’ve been mentally writing a lot of poetry since arriving in this mountain city, but have been too scared to write it down on paper.

Which rituals do you practise to keep you grounded?

A hot cup of water in the morning.

Touching the soft fur of our cats.

Cuddling with them if it’s a particularly bad day.

Going for a walk alone.

Lying down on the floor when I’ve spent too long sitting at my desk.

Yoga when I have the motivation, a quick stretch when I don’t.

Playing video games to help distract me when my mind’s too chaotic.

Singing loudly and badly to my favourite songs when I’m home alone.

How is the darker, cooler, mulchier more spacious season providing medicine for you right now? (question asked by Becky Lyon)

I’ve never thought about it as the more “spacious” season before but I relate to that so much. This year in particular, after the claustrophobic heat of the summer, I feel freed by the darker, colder weather. “Mulchier” is such a good word to describe it too. It really does feel like a medicine, a balm to smooth away the frayed nerves and chaotic heat-filled weeks of July and August.

What question would you like to ask to the next person on TNK ?

What’s your favourite smell in nature?

And could you suggest someone else or other organisations you admire that we could approach for #TheNatureKind?

@kalyanilodhia - a travel and wildlife solo traveller and car camper, and a wildlife TV researcher at BBC Studios.

You can find out more on her website, Twitter and Instagram.

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