Bertil Nilsson’s book Naturally places male dancers and acrobats in nature scenes. Here, Nilsson explains the story behind his stirring photograph Mario 2014, taken in the Swiss Alps.
“I went to Switzerland to visit Mario, a friend of mine. I don’t know where we went or what it was called; I could probably find it on a map by retracing our steps, but we just started driving toward the mountains. As we were getting closer, I became interested in going as far as we could. There’s a gondola that takes people up into the mountains, but it was closing for the day when we got there, meaning that we found ourselves alone in this beautiful mountain opening.
We decided to climb even farther up on the side of the mountain, which is where this picture was taken. We spotted the rock that appears in the photo from the valley—I’m unsure how far it was but it must’ve taken us 45 minutes to walk up there. It was cloudy and I wanted to capture the foggy light going through. We were shooting there for a while as the sun was setting. This particular shot—which ended up being the final one—was taken right at the end, after we’d finished. It’d gotten dark, there was red powder everywhere and then arose a moment where the sun came all the way around and set on the mountain in front of us.
We’d brought some camping gear, so we walked down to a lake and stayed there for the night. We woke up at five the next morning with no one around. It was such an amazing experience—I’d just flown in from London the day before. Having gone from being in the middle of the city to such a remote, incredible location and sharing this great experience was something truly special.”
Bertil Nilsson is a visual artist working within photography and filmmaking. He often collaborates closely with dancers and circus artists and draws inspiration from the human form, nature and modernist architecture.
As told to:Lucy Ballantyne