Through a Photographer’s Lens: Getting Back to Nature

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.

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.

May 25, 2020
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

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