My name is Line Ørnes Søndergaard and I am a documentary photographer born and based in Oslo, Norway.I work editorial for Norwegian newspapers and magazines alongside my personal, long-term projects. I’ve won some national and international prizes for my work these last years, and was selected as an participant for the WPP Joop Swart Masterclass 2016.
And now, my gear…
I shoot Canon, and usually carry a Canon 5D Mark III body and three lenses. The first two are the Sigma Art 35mm f/1.8 and Sigma 50mm f/1.4. They’re heavy but wonderful and cover most of what I need. When on reporting assignments these two are what I shift between. The 35mm is an all-rounder, and is my “go to” in most situations, especially where more than one person is in the frame.
The 50mm I use when I want to shift between horizontal and vertical frames. I also use it quite a bit for portraits. I don’t use zoom lenses – for many reasons. But prime is prime. I feel like zoom lenses give me too many choices “in hand.” I like the way primes make me move together with the people I’m photographing. When I want a closer shot – I have to physically move closer to them. I have to walk in between people, touch them, interact. It adds a dynamic to my relationship with the people I’m photographing.
My third lens is a Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro that I use quite a bit for closer portraits and detail shots. It´s really not very good. It’s a cheap and tired lens – but it doesn’t weigh much and once in a while some nice things come out of it.
Before I turned to photography, I used to work in documentary television. So I’ve spent enough time carrying around packs of heavy equipment. I still do video, but when I do I work very small and light. Handheld or with my carbon tripod. For audio I bring a Zoom H4 recorder – basic and easy. This is what fits in my Domke shoulder bag, and usually all that I need.
I seldom use flash at all, I use the light I find where I am at – if it is daylight through a window or a wall mounted bathroom lamp, finding the right light on location is part of the thrill. Sometimes I bring a reflector with me on staged stuff.
And then there’s notebooks. Lots of them. I have separate notebooks on all stories I work on. I keep notes on my thoughts and observations and any interviews. Also I draw things that I didn’t photograph but want to remember to use as a text element.
On stories that I work for over time I print key pictures and put them into the book to help me remember what I’m building around. And then I have the collections book where everyday thoughts and note to self stuff goes.
That’s my everyday work stuff.
On my spare time, I have an Olympus PEN on me or one of my analogue 35mm‘s. I do some of my projects and portraits on a medium format Rolleiflex that used to belong to my grandfather. I love the slowness it brings to my workflow.
And most importantly I shoot a LOT with my iPhone. I feel my most interesting pictures are taken with my phone, maybe because I think less and don’t try so hard when I use it. Its something about the spontaneity and randomness of what I do with my phone that I really like.