Give Yourself to Nature – Ruben Brulat’s “Paths”

Today we’re taking a look at the extraordinary work of French photographer, Ruben Brulat, and his series of images titled “Paths”.

Beginning in 2010, Brulat spent 18 months travelling through Europe and Asia with nothing but his large format camera, a backpack of clothes, and his incredible eye for jaw-dropping images.
The journey took him through many countries, where he met many people, and convinced some of them to take part in his “Paths” project.

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He would meet new people and get to know them, becoming friends with many of them. Once he had spent some time with his potential subjects, he would bring up his work and request that they pose for him.

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Naturally, most people were hesitant at first. Having a near-stranger ask you to pose nude in the wilderness is an odd request! But once Brulat showed them images from his previous projects, as well as the images he had already taken on his current journey, many of the subjects agreed, and these amazing images were made.

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“Give yourself to nature” he would say to them before taking each image, “let it go completely, and let it [nature] take you.”
The results speak for themselves. Brulat’s goal for the project was to show the potential harmony between human beings and nature, and what better what to showcase this than have the subject completely bare, raw, naked.

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By using naked subjects, Brulat is also able to showcase how vulnerable we as human beings can be. Some of his images are taken in extreme environments; deserts, frozen tundra, on the sides of mountains.

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The choice to shoot the landscape from so far away, with the subject hardly visible in many cases, also strengthens this theme of the vulnerable human, as the subject is minute against the vastness of nature.

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While some photographs that include nude subjects can be jarring, or considered “rude”, the images from the “Paths” series use nudity as though it were a prop to help tell the story of the surrounding nature.
Brulat says that he hopes the series speaks about friendship, vulnerability, and the brief moments that fade too quickly from memory.

What do you think of the Paths series? Let us know in the comments below!

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