Will Hearle

Will is a photographer, producer and director who works across several fields from music photography to commercial film production. He is a member of Forest Studio, a boutique creative studio based in east London. He enjoys long-distance running, improv comedy and owls.

Describe the nature around you at the moment

It’s mostly an array of house plants - a monstera, some devil's ivy, a couple of peace lilies - the classics. But peeking out of my back window, I can see the back garden's resident fox, we've named him Arthur. Arthur is gentle for a fox but sadly has mange.

What lessons have you learned from nature?

I suppose that we live in a world of flux - in nature, things are constantly shifting and restructuring. No given state is any more or less valid than the next. So with that in mind, to try and enjoy the transitory beauty of the moment and also feel at peace with letting things go.

How would you describe your nature connection?

My connection is quite sporadic. I live in the city and it can be hard to remember to appreciate the nature around us day to day. Also, I think part of me is still caught up in the flawed idea of nature being in some way 'distinct' or 'outside' of humanity. I am working on breaking down that dogma in my head. Also, I was lucky to grow up in quite nature-rich environments so being in the countryside, woods or jungle reminds me of being a child and exploring. I find it equal parts relaxing and invigorating.

How does nature guide or influence your photography?

I took up photography as a way to deal with anxiety. I come from an outdoorsy family, so nature has always been synonymous with calmness. If I ever felt aimless or had an urge that I should be doing something I would grab my camera and go for a walk. I was drawn to the ways in which nature would quietly emerge in the urban sphere. Nowadays, I would say I am taken by how rich and complex nature is. From the granular level all the way to expansive vistas. I try to incorporate that layering of information into each image, it makes a photograph feel full and organic.

What role can photography have in shaping our collective consciousness?

I saw this brilliant doc The Age of the Image, the thesis of which is that we are living in a time in which visual representations are some of the most powerful forces in our culture. Photography shapes what is viewed as important, what is desirable and what is beautiful. By changing the images that we are exposed to we influence the way we understand the world.

Name a place where you feel most at ease.

Hiking through the UK countryside - it can be really very beautiful.

Name a TV series, film, podcast or documentary that blew your mind.

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance, is a documentary from the 80s. There are no words or really any discernible plot - it’s more of a montage of natural phenomena interspersed with film of the “cutting edge” of human industry. It slowly builds mood, with the help of a killer soundtrack from Philip Glass, and leaves you feeling appalled at the destruction we are inflicting on the world around us. It's an amazing film, it almost makes you feel like an alien looking down at Earth.

Which rituals do you practise to keep you grounded?

Long-distance running is a big one. When I get too in my head just heading out the door and running through a park or countryside clears the mind and gets me feeling centred.

What initiative have you heard of recently that you'd like everyone to support?

My flatmate Jo works at Sydenham Gardens. It's a charity in south-east London that provides Art and Horticultural Therapy to local people, very cool!

Could you suggest someone else or other organisations you admire that we could approach for #TheNatureKind

Rinko Kawauchi, the photographer. Much of her work deals with the poetic subtlety of nature and how it interacts with her children, very cool! Also Stephen Gill, another UK-based photographer who deals a lot with humanity's relationship to nature.

You can find out more about Will and his photography on his Instagram.

Share this article

Explore Related Stories