By Lieneke Hulshof

Between 1961 and 1965 four young schoolgirls claim to have seen an apparition of the Holy Virgin Maria in the Spanish village of San Sebastian de Garanbandal. Since then the village has become a well-known place of pilgrimage for Roman Catholics. Thirty years ago Jan (Juan), from Brabant the Roman Catholic southern part of the Netherlands, decided to leave the low-lying Netherlands behind him and settle in the distant Spanish mountain village. To this very day he still leads a reclusive life and surrounds himself with books about religion, alternative philosophies, the rewriting of history and conspiracy theories. Wytske van Keulen decided to visit the small village and made a photographic documentary about Juan, his reclusive existence and the curious visual language of the Holy Virgin Maria that is evident throughout the landscape. The photographer is fascinated by the fact that Juan believes in something beyond belief, without losing his authenticity, without prompting you to say: he is nothing but a fantasist.