Recognized as the leading underwater lifestyle photographer in the world, Henrik Sørensen has made it his trademark to capture that one moment where everything adds up to create an effortless and unique experience.
When shooting images the forces of nature are not easily tamed. Photographer Henrik Sorensen has made it his niche to make it look like a piece of cake to shoot in otherwise uncontrollable environments. Whether he is shooting chiffon in the water, moving athletes or flour-bombs, it seems as if Sorensen’s gravity-defying photos have captured that exact moment when the magic happened.
Staging the unpredictable.
After sitting down with Sorensen in his enormous flat and atelier overlooking the lakes in the centre of Copenhagen, WELUM learned that taming the elements and capturing the perfect moment might have another dimension to it.
When planning one of his sought after photos, Sorensen explains how his eye-catching photos come to life. The preparation and planning centers around a visualization of the exact motif he is looking for down to the smallest detail—an identification of what will later look like the perfect moment captured by his lens. Then starts the planning of how to get there. Accepting that he cannot rely on that one coincidental perfect moment that creates jaw-dropping photos, Sorensen stages every step of the way, acknowledging that some factors are out of his control. The x-factor. It is this factor, the uncalculated, that makes the perfect moment—when all the planning aligns with the force majeure that elements bring to a photo, and adds a surprise dimension that elevates the photo from planned perfection to THE perfect moment!
A love affair with water.
Sorensen’s interest in movement was ignited ten years ago when he and dancer Louise Seloy experimented with shape, dance, and splashes of water at a photo shoot for Getty Images. Two years after his first fling with movement and the unexpected effects of water, Sorensen’s first underwater shoot featured a violinist submerged in a pool using the mirrored surface to create a beautiful macabre headless figure playing an underwater solo.
The underwater shot was made in a glass-lined pool, allowing Sorensen to use his regular equipment, as he had access to his subject through the thick glass making up the inside walls of the basin.
Two more years passed before Sorensen could purchase required gear to start experimenting underwater in a wetsuit facing his subject in equal underwater terms. His visions and constant eye to detail and reality have landed him campaigns for world-renowned manufacturer of cameras, Hasselblad, as well as a long line of brands, allowing him to develop his understanding of movement and how to capture it the best. Though underwater shooting might be his signature, both wind, paint, coloured smoke, powder and paint have been through the creative machinery at Henrik Sørensen’s studio.
Henrik Sørensen on:
What he will never do again:
"I will never again shoot with coloured powder or paint...until I forget how messy it was!"
The perfect moment:
"When the result exceeds the expectations. Luckily it happens quite often"
Most hard to capture:
"For Hewlett Packard I shot athletes outdoor with coloured smoke. FYI, wind and smoke are very hard to control!"
"I would love to shoot an abstract and anatomical series of athletes and dancers wearing a light suit, enabling the camera to capture their every movement in a sequence.