Through a Photographer’s Lens: Getting Back to Nature

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Berlin‑based photographer Julia Nimke finds inspiration in the joy of being outside. Whether it’s hiking up to the basecamp of the Matterhorn or kayaking at 4 a.m. to document a golden sunrise, she magically captures the feel of a soft breeze, the sparkle of the sun on a lake or the quiet of a dusky evening in a forest. We caught up with Nimke, who has been travelling around in her trusty van, telling visual stories of nature closer to home.

May 25, 2020

enRoute How did you find a career in photography?

Julia Nimke It was a long journey! I got my first camera when I was around 10 years old and started taking pictures – soon I knew this was the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I also studied geography because I thought combining photography and geography would be pretty cool. Next to photography, travelling has always been a big part of my life. I’m very grateful to have found the one thing that I love doing that also became the way I make a living.

A portrait of Julia Nimke in the woods by the lakes of Brandenburg
A swan with its head under water

ER How has staying home and shooting in your own surroundings affected your photography?

JN I’ve always been a supporter of exploring the areas around you. I’m staying positive and seeing the good things, like being able to go out into the forest. When the sun is shining and I can go for a walk and, with distance, still see my friends, I’m reminded of how wonderful my life is and I am grateful.

ER Why is getting outside so important to you?

JN I try to create physical work and, for me, that means going on hikes. Today, for example, I decided to go on a 12‑kilometre hike. There are over 2,000 lakes around Berlin, so it’s a wonderful area to just explore. Outdoor activity also helps me feel balanced and mentally clear.

A bench at the end of a dock overlooking the water
Wispy plants blowing in the wind against blue skies
A rowboat docked at the lake

ER Have you found yourself turning your lens on yourself and adding a more personal approach to your photos?

JN I am documenting my daily life right now and have been photographing more day‑to‑day stuff and focusing more on details, like capturing the light in my apartment or taking pictures while walking in the woods. Right now, I like to use photography as a way to document those smaller moments.

ER How does the camera you use inform your work?

JN I’ve always enjoyed shooting with a smaller camera, which allows for a very playful aspect to photography. And it reminds me of the way I started out, which was documenting everything that interested me and that I wanted to capture spontaneously.

Relaxing in the back of a van
Sunlight streaming through the curtains of a Berlin apartment
A woman standing by the edge of the water during the evening

ER Are you using this time to start anything new outside of photography?

JN I recently bought an iPad, and I’ve started drawing and painting on it. I was working on a Van Gogh puzzle, and when I finished it, I started painting it on my iPad.

ER Where is the first place you’d like to travel to as soon as you can?

JN The first place I want to go to is Dresden, just a two‑hour drive from Berlin. It’s where my grandparents live. I can’t see them at the moment and we have phone calls on a regular basis, but I can’t wait go and visit them!

A treelined dirt road in Brandenburg, Germany
Exploring the forests of Brandenburg, Germany by car
The sun sparkling on the waters of Brandenburg, Germany