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A photographer and her Sprinter on the way to independence.

Julia Nimkes Sprinter parked in a clearing

The Berlin photographer Julia Nimke and her Sprinter “Emil” set off for professional self-employment.

Inspiration in seclusion.

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.

Julia Nimke photographs a lake at sunrise

Minimalist, atmospheric and in part romantic – this is how Julia describes her style.

A smooth transition into self-employment.

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.

  • Julia Nimke is out and about in the woods with her Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
  • The view from the rear of her Sprinter shows Julia Nimke going to a small lake to take pictures
  • Julia Nimke sits at a table in her Sprinter and edits photos on her laptop
  • Julia Nimke fills out forms

Traveling through Europe on your own.

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.

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Creative minimalism – even in everyday life.

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.”

Julia's 5 tips for better photos:

  1. Photograph as much as you can to sharpen your focus. The eye can be trained like a muscle.
  2. Don’t take pictures with zoom lenses, but learn to make your pictures with a fixed focal length. This will teach you how to use distances and relations for image composition.
  3. Become so familiar with your equipment that you can work intuitively with it.
  4. Show and share your work. Learning is a process and we should not limit ourselves to the supposedly perfect works. It is much more interesting how you get there.
  5. Do not compare yourself with others. There is always someone who makes something better or more beautiful. Comparisons make you unhappy.

Atmospheric fog hangs over a dense coniferous forest

Julia loves to discover atmospheric places with her photography.

The silhouette of a woman at sunrise

Her motifs often show the “blue” hour.

Grassy hills extend to the horizon

Julia has already travelled half of Europe for her photography.

A hotel in the Dolomites at night

On her last tour to the Dolomites Julia had to struggle with nightly minus temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius.

Julia Nimke's Sprinter is parked by the coast at sunset

With her Sprinter “Emil” Julia can easily drive to the most remote places – and spend the night there.

Julia Nimke is working on photos in the back of her Sprinter “Emil”.

Thanks to her mobile office, she can work from anywhere.

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.

Photos: Jaydee Nujsongsinn, Julia Nimke

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Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

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