Forest Bathing by Tali Kimelman

Photographer Tali Kimelman talks about her latest exhibition, “Forest Bathing”, a project that was featured last year in National Geographic. Now showing at Museo Zorrilla in Montevideo, Uruguay through February 16.

When we live in cities we are prone to detach ourselves from the natural world, while simultaneously idealizing it. We experiment with it as a distant observer, creating a perfect image in our imagination, like a postcard. This image is an unreachable object, and even when we are in the natural environment, we can never truly immerse in this ideal.

Shinrin-yoku means “Forest Bathing” in Japanese. This activity consists of taking walks in nature and concentrating attention to the senses: rest, breathe, contemplate. Stop thinking and start feeling. Forest Bathing is a simple and profound way to connect with the natural world, submerging oneself in it instead of looking at it from a distance. The aim of the project is to tackle the detachment human beings have from nature, taking observers to the heart of the forest and inviting them to strengthen their connection with the natural world.

The entire project was shot at Arboretum Lussich in Uruguay. This forest was created in the early 1900s by one man: Antonio Lussich. Having ignored the advice of many scientists and botanical experts who assured him that no trees would grow in a place that was only rocks and dunes, Lussich planted more than 400 plant species from around the world, generating the most beautiful and diverse forest in our country. The images in this project portray both broad landscapes and small details that I could appreciate while walking among the trees throughout different times of the day and year. They are a testimony to the change in my perception after spending so much time in nature.

Museo Zorrilla is open Monday through Saturday from 2 – 7pm. You can also view a video of the making of the exhibition here.

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