Capturing our connection with nature

Main Image Detail167379829, Phillip Suddick/Flickr Select

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In a very meaningful sense, sustainability is a visual concept which touches the lives of us all. The need to connect with nature holds an undeniable appeal with people across the globe. And, as such, it provides a basis for brands to create shared narratives with consumers which act most powerfully when combined with the use of authentic, real-life imagery.

With this in mind, we invited our global community of Flickr contributors to enter a competition to create imagery which reflects their everyday experiences and perceptions of the relationship with the planet and our environment.

We started with a brief looking for images that portray the caption: “I never felt closer to the world!” In response, we received over 500 photographs from contributors around the world – here’s a selection of them.

Judging the entries, was award-winning, professional photographer Kelvin Murray who had the hard task of choosing the winner and four runners-up.

In first place, Philip Suddick

Kelvin chose Philip’s amazing swimming shot as the winner, stating;
“I love this image. The authenticity of the model emerging from water encapsulates the brief perfectly, illustrating the power of the sea. I love the feel of the image and you truly connect with the man pictured. You can almost feel his breath and the detail in the water, the glisten in his hair are brought to life with the beautiful colour palette. This photograph is heavy in emotion and you really feel close to nature.”

Phillip’s take on his prize winning shot

“This image was taken quite far out from the beach at Long Bay in Auckland New Zealand about a month ago, I had my Canon 5D in a relatively inexpensive underwater bag, my friend is a serious triathlon competitor and was going for a pretty intense swim.

I managed to take the shot whilst he was surfacing for air. (My Mini-Blue-Planet-Moment!) Conditions were a bit choppy and I was fairly exhausted from trying to swim and take pictures all at the same time but I love a challenge!”

And the runners up were

Donald Iain Smith

“This image was taken at Mount Bruce, a nature reserve in New Zealand about an hour's drive from our home. It was an overcast day, my favourite condition for photography. The reason I shoot with fast primes is to capture beautiful natural light like this.

I was looking for shots of our children exploring the woods and although I had some ideas in mind I was not certain what we would find. I'm happy to let things develop on outings like this, but I was careful to select the clothing beforehand.

As we walked around the reserve we came across this fallen tree which had created a small clearing. I work quickly to avoid my photography becoming a chore for the children. Unless I'm deliberately shooting very tight I feel the most successful images give the subject plenty of room to breathe. The forest, the pathway, the model's possible thoughts, the stance, the fallen tree - all add various motifs. I love the image and felt it was a good fit for the brief.”

Catherine MacBride

“For this brief I wanted to look at how I developed my own connection and relationship with nature and realised it started as a child at my family’s kitchen table.

My father adores anything to do with nature and the physical world and after every family day out we would sit and classify all the shells or leaves we had collected that day. He taught us of our connection to the world, the weather, the stars, the moon.

It makes me so happy to see this tradition carry on as he now sits with my son and helps him classify his mineral collection at that same kitchen table, using the same books I used as a child.”

Jill Tindall

“I took my kids on a nature walk on our local moorland. We don't have much of a garden at home so we like to go exploring up there, have a run around and escape from it all.

This was a spontaneous shot capturing my son, totally absorbed in the reflection of amazing sunlight in a pool of water. To me, it shows how easy it is to escape outside, connect with the environment and enjoy that exhilarating dreamy feeling where anything is possible.”

Guido Mieth

“This picture was a spontaneous idea along the way. Sometimes these ones are the best.

I like the little red berry creating a strong sharp contrast to the colour and the form of the green forest surrounding. It somehow makes the unspectacular spectacular.

It is this magic nature creates which we should be more respectful towards. Once we have lost connection to nature we are lost ourselves.”

Discover more images depicting our relationship with nature from our Flickr contributors.

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