Michael Søndergaard is a contemporary art photographer and filmmaker based in Copenhagen. Focusing on portraiture, he often works with the culture and identity of youth and gender. Through his work, he always tries to communicate a sense of melancholia and fragility, because he thinks the power lies within vulnerability and sincerity.
“I always search for beauty in the mystical. From studying religion and science, I find rituals immensely interesting: this is where everything is at stake, and the borders are being crossed.
I often use the same performative and aesthetic elements in my work, and I always endeavor to create unique universes as seen in my first series RITE, where I explore the fragility of masculinity through portraits, where every model is put into a ritualized and sacred context to make them sincere.
In my work as a filmmaker, I like to operate photographically with techniques similar to character-building and mise-en-scene, therefore, when I shoot it is important to me that the person I am photographing is willing to join the process of searching within themselves to create the character and tell narratives.”
What inspired you to get into photography?
I got my first camera at the age of nine and ever since I’ve loved photography. For fine art photography, I had my creative awakening going through a major identity crisis, where I somehow had to find out who I was through my photography. I’m still working on that.
Nude forms are a common theme in your work. What is nudity to you?
It’s all about showing human beings as fragile and vulnerable creatures.
Your pictures are mysterious and dark, can you tell us a little bit about that?
My photography always follows both the seasons and my inner state. Winters in the North get quite dark.
Who or what inspires you?
Emotions. Always. When being in love or being depressed, I am mostly inspired. Of course experiencing art, music, theatre and film help engender emotions, so I engage a lot in that too.
You use a lot of double exposures, what do they represent?
Transitions of life fascinate me. Going through phases. It’s like attending the funeral of an old family member: often both extremely sad but also full of hope and relief — the contradictions of life.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m directing and shooting a short film premiering later this year.
All images from Michael Søndergaard’s series RITE. For further information please contact The Little Black Gallery / www.thelittleblackgallery.com