Always aim as high as you can they say. Until we started this project I'd always settled for somewhere in the middle, I've put it down to a lack of self confidence, that coincided with being diagnosed with Crohn's disease. The project has been built on trying our hardest to reach for the stars, be it artists, musicians and in this instance photographers. They don't sit much higher on the image making pile than Søren Solkær. I became familiar with his work in numerous urban art publications, and after checking the photographic credits in some of the best coffee table street art books, his name featured prominently within the covers.
He has released four books under his own steam, and in 2015 his project 'Surface' couldn't get in my hands quick enough. We have been lucky enough to have him share five images, three of which featured in 'Surface' and two of personalities of whom you'll all be familiar with. We hope you enjoy the view as much as we do, an absolute privilege to feature his work on Take 5.
Søren Solkær is a Danish photographer, born in 1969. He has been working with a global profile since 1996.
Søren is best known for his distinctive portraits of musicians. He is most recognised as the man responsible for various iconic images of Björk, The White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, David Lynch, The Arctic Monkeys, R.E.M. and U2.
Søren's photography is characterised by finding a tension point between intimacy and edginess. His portraits are often regarded as cinematic in tone with a distinctive colour palette. The inspirations for his style as a photographer is ranging from filmmakers David Lynch and Wong Kar-Wai through to the works of photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia and painter Caspar David Friedrich.
"Søren has a great understanding of light, and a rare eye for beauty and portraiture." - Michael Stipe, R.E.M.
Søren has released four fine art photography books: Beat City (2006), CLOSER (2011), SOULS (2011) and SURFACE (2015). They are available in selected exhibitions as well as in stores world wide.
Søren's works have been exhibited in New York, Oxford, Copenhagen, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Edinburgh, Los Angeles, Oslo, Chicago, Vancouver, Milano, Napoli, Bratislava, Reykjavik, Cologne and Prague and are featured as part of the permanent collection in The Royal Danish Library and The National Portrait Collection in Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark.
Images from top-bottom
The White Stripes - I photographed The White Stripes in a diner in Nashville for British GQ.
I had put the idea for the picture forward to Jack White. He'd agreed on the condition that we would get all 50's vintage clothes in for the shoot. I drove around the Nashville area with a very happy Iraqi taxi driver for a good seven hours to find the perfect diner for the shoot. I did four different set ups and Jack and Meg White were then combined in one image. Jack is a great actor and made great effort to be in character. I like the cinematic quality and the playfulness of the image.
Björk - I photographed Björk on a summer afternoon in a London studio. We were doing a cover for Q magazine, where she was later to be comp'ed in with Rufus Wainwright and Michael Stipe - whom I shot a month later in Dublin. After half an hour we were done with the cover and we had half an hour to do more creative photographs. I flooded the studio with red light to create a more otherworldly sensation. We hardly talked.
Björk performed a number of weird and wonderful poses and we were both totally absorbed in the play.
I like the quirky poetry and the beauty of the image.
Borondo - I found Borondo's work online and was blown away by it. I found out that he was working out of London and got a contact for him, who knew English. I arranged to meet him in an abandoned pub in Northern London that he used for a studio. He ran me through all his different public works in London. He'd been very busy. I particularly liked his piece "Narcissus" painted by a nearby canal. The painting was done upside down, so the reflection in the water became the upright portrait. You'd sit there and wait for a calm moment and a perfect portrait would appear. I wanted to play with that duality in my portrait. I'd seen a piece Borondo had done in Shoreditch, where he'd painted the windows of a shop white and the next day he'd come back and scratched portraits in the paint. I asked him if he could do a self portrait on a sheet of glass about the size of his head. The next night we met by the canal. Borondo had scratched a striking portrait which he held up in front of his face. A lot of light experiments followed and it finally all came together with the double portrait and Narcissus reflecting in the water next to the full moon.
Elle - American ELLE DeadSexIcon photographed on a roof top in Brooklyn. She often paints with fire extinguishers filled with paint, which gives her 10 seconds to paint with great reach. This way she can paint on buildings, roof tops and billboards. the mask is her own creation.
Shoe - I photographed Niels Shoe Meulman late at night in an old brewery in Stavanger.
I saw him painting and approached him to ask if it was possible to do a portrait some time. “How about now?” he remarked. “Now would be a perfect time”. He was painting with a spray gun in one hand and a bottle of brandy in the other and it seemed to have been going on for quite some hours. He had frantically created a whole room in his signature “Caligraffitti” style with lyrics from George Carlin’s stand up show: “Modern Man”. He was covered in paint showing a lot of attitude and was pretty wild, especially in contrast to the nicely cultured and well-behaved Dutchman we met at the hotel breakfast the next day.