Visualizing the Connection Between Humans and Nature with Liam Rimmington
By Phoebe Barrett - 4 min read
Combining nature photography and portraiture, Sheffield-based photographer Liam Rimmington creates soft and atmospheric works exploring the connection between humans and the natural world.
We chatted with the self-taught photographer abouthow he creates a visual harmony between nature and his subjects by immersing himself fully in the environment, and how photography can be a vital tool in becoming more attuned to the natural world.
Tell us a little about your background.
I was born and raised in the UK, living in Sheffield which is right in the middle of England on the edge of the beautiful Peak District National Park.
How did you begin your journey into photography?
I took up photography almost 6 years ago. I used to play guitar and was in bands for many years, but when I started to lose interest in the music industry I found my passion and creativity diverting to photography. Starting with the camera in my phone at first, I realised this was something I enjoyed in a very deep way so decided to buy myself a DSLR, I went straight from the camera shop to the local botanical garden, put it in manual mode and started to teach myself.
How have you developed your creative approach and style?
As a self-taught photographer I began my journey with experimentation from the very start. I compose and decide perspectives based on what feels right to me, not based on ‘rules’ or rigid techniques. I’ve also developed my editing style in post-production, specifically playing with the colours to create mood and dialogue within an image, colour is very important to me.
“There’s something special about sensing what backdrops will work as you’re experiencing the location, light and weather at that very point in time.”
Are you travelling a lot? Do you happen upon the places you shoot or do you specifically scout for locations?
I’m beginning to travel more and more, I actually just returned from a 12 day trip to the Faroe Islands, which was incredible. Some of the locations I’ve shot at were specifically planned, but most are shot whilst exploring somewhere new, there’s something special about sensing what backdrops will work as you’re experiencing the location, light and weather at that very point in time. Even when I’m shooting in a location I already know, I don’t pre-plan any shots and just allow the place to speak to me during the shoot.
Where is next on your travel bucket list?
I love cooler climates, hence my recent trip to the Faroe Islands. I think Finland might be the next on my list of places to experience, it looks incredibly beautiful. I’d also love to return to Triglav National Park in Slovenia, I visited there for a few days last year and I feel there is so much more to explore.
“My intention is to show how we as humans should connect with our surroundings, in harmony with nature not trying to dominate it.”
Your work has a peaceful and atmospheric quality. The human elements within your photographs always appear in harmony with the surrounding nature rather than in contrast to it. Is this something you consciously aim to achieve?
Yes absolutely - my intention is to show how we as humans should connect with our surroundings, in harmony with nature not trying to dominate it. By showing a person within these surroundings it helps to show the grandeur of the natural world and its incredible scale, but also the beauty of mankind.
Do you think photography can be a useful tool in opening people up to environmental issues?
Photography often drives people to get out and explore the world, to see places they wouldn’t otherwise and to really look at the beauty of our world. I think when you see a place like this - really look at the natural world around you, you become more attuned to it and understand the impact we have on the environment.
Do you think it has the potential to make people more environmentally-conscious in their everyday lives (recycling, conserving energy etc)?
Definitely, it’s much easier to draw the connection between your everyday actions and the natural environment around you when you’re more closely connected to it. Imagine visiting somewhere with outstanding natural beauty then noticing a discarded plastic bottle floating in the river, it would make you more conscious about the impact you might be having in the way you live. If we’re all a little more aware of our impact and make small mindful adjustments to the way we live we can positively impact nature in a big way.
“If we’re all a little more aware of our impact and make small mindful adjustments to the way we live we can positively impact nature in a big way.”
What influences and inspires you most and drives you to keep creating?
Nature - you see it in all my work, whether it’s a photo of a flower, an outdoor portrait or a wide landscape shot, nature’s endless beauty inspires me to tell its story.
What advice would you give to other photographers looking to explore nature photography?
Taking the photo comes secondary to experiencing a place, first immerse yourself in the natural environment, feel it, smell it, hear it - then you’re ready to capture it. The goal should always be to experience nature, if you manage to capture some of its essence in an image then that’s a bonus.
This post was created in connection to this year’s Earth Day and as part of #NotYourCliche, our movement away from antiquated stock stereotypes and towards a more relevant, inclusive, representative view of global culture and society. If you want to see more of Liam’s beautiful photography, visit his EyeEm profile or follow along on his Instagram feed.