Studies have shown that by immersing into wildlife—observing, breathing, touching—forest bathing (or shinrin-yoku as it’s called in Japanese) benefits the body and the soul. In this hyper-connected, hi-tech era, it can help decrease stress levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and improve overall wellbeing.
Photographer Tali Kimelman experienced this first hand while immersing herself in Arboretum Lussich, a lush, 470-acre nature reserve on the southeast coast of her native Uruguay. And through her series Open Forest, she brings this soothing, sensory experience to us.
Over a period of two years, she returned to this forest to explore, diverging from the pathways and allowing herself to get lost. The immersion freed her from her continuous thinking. “You walk and let everything get into you,” she says. It’s a labor of active observing: “[You] stop, look at the colors, the details, the little drops moving … There is another world in there,” she says.
At times Kimelman gets intimate with mesmerizing close-up images of flowers. She keeps her communion with nature simple, intentionally not labeling the plants with their scientific names. “It’s the left side of the brain working when you label things, and then you don't allow yourself to just experience what you see…,” she says. “So I was like, ‘You know what? I don't care what the names of the things are.’ I just want to see them and see how beautiful they are.”