On an early autumn morning, dense clouds of fog are spreading over a small lake south of Berlin. Julia Nimke spent the night in her van, which is parked near the shore at a clearing. She closes the door with her backpack and shouldered camera and makes her way through the forest towards the water. Right now, shortly before sunrise, she prefers to be out and about. “When most people are still asleep, I have the feeling that I have the landscape and the moment all to myself,” says the 28-year-old photographer. In her self-converted Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which she lovingly calls “Emil”, Julia looks for seclusion as inspiration for her atmospheric pictures.
Even during her school days Julia was intensively involved with photography. She got to know the manual operation of cameras and the work in the darkroom. At the age of 15 she finally decided to pursue a creative career. After completing her apprenticeship as a master photographer, Julia worked as a picture editor – but only part-time, in order to be able to realize her own projects on a part-time basis. “Those years really helped me to build up a customer base and generate orders,” she remembers. For her, the path to freelance work is now the next logical step.
On one hand, Julia mentions the bureaucracy involved as the biggest hurdle, but on the other she says it was also the jolt she needed to start the project. Among other things, a one-year support program of the software company Adobe, which enables handpicked artists worldwide to create their own works, helped her in this endeavor. For Julia, this meant more time in her “Emil”, with whom she could explore the whole of Europe on her own, combining photography with her fascination for nature. What she particularly appreciates about the Sprinter is its unobtrusive appearance, which means that it is not immediately identifiable as a camping vehicle. “In addition, Mercedes-Benz simply stands for very reliable cars,” she continues. “And I really didn’t feel like breaking down when I was travelling alone.”
I like a certain degree of safety. Nevertheless, it was clear to me early on that I didn’t want to be on the payroll forever. Self-employment also involves uncertainty – it took time to accept that.
Julia advertises her work mainly in the social network Instagram and on her website, where she publishes not only commercial but also personal projects. She wants to find more clients who support her way of life: “I travel a lot and I photograph a lot when I travel. So I can offer authentic travel photography.” In recent years, she has simplified the style of her pictures more and more – a trend that has carried over into her everyday life: “When I’m on tour with ‘Emil’, I’m always aware that I don’t really need much at all.”
The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.