Naturally: Dennis, 2012

"Dennis, 2012"— All photos courtesy of Bertil Nilsson

Photographer and filmmaker Bertil Nilsson is based in London, but he hasn't always lived in a big city. In fact, he spent much of his childhood exploring the forests of Sweden. To honor those treasured adventures and forge a new understanding of nature, Nilsson embarked on a personal project called "Naturally."

Inspired by humans' role in and connection to nature, Nilsson works with nude figures — specifically dancers and circus performers — to explore that primal connection.

"What fascinates me about dancers is how they use and perfect such a large range of movements, from the organic to the decidedly artificial, such as pointed feet," Nilsson says.

To contrast the sublime of the natural settings and the raw bodies of the dancers, Nilsson integrates colorful, organic pigments to "add a symbolic layer, creating possibly unexpected interpretations."

Nilsson has done photoshoots for "Naturally" all across Europe — including England, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal and Germany — as well as more far-flung destinations such as Australia and the Canary Islands.

Continue below to see some of the "Naturally" series, and visit Nilsson's portfolio to see more of his work.

Naturally: David, 2013

David, 2013

Naturally: Eike, 2013

Eike, 2013

Naturally: Mario, 2014

Mario, 2014

Naturally: MJ, 2013

M-J, 2014

Naturally: Eike, 2013

Eike, 2013

Naturally: Charlie, 2014

Charlie, 2014

* * * 
Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

In 'Naturally,' Swedish photographer explores our connection with the sublime
Photographer Bertil Nilsson works with the figures of dancers and circus performers to illustrate our primal relationship with the planet.