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 a 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.