Artist Interviews 2021
By Laura Siebold
Leena Henningsen does not need ultra-bright and colorful images to draw the viewer’s attention to her photographs. Her pure, clean images document the wild beauty and stillness of Norway’s countryside. Growing up in Germany, Leena discovered her passion for photography and the arts at a young age. She refined her artistic skills in Screen Design and Digital Film Production before moving to Norway in 2018. Finding refuge through disconnection from her former life in Germany, Leena portrays her love for and inspiration by nature in photographs, and in an artistic collaboration with her boyfriend Joachim Ingulstad, a painter, originally born in Vienna, Austria. The artist couple seeks to find healing and unity by reconnecting with nature and expressing themselves through their art.
Your photography shows a strong preference for clean contrasts and powerful images of nature. According to the title of your online shop “Art of Nature”, you see nature as the greatest artist. What inspires you most in/about nature?
Nature is never the same. Especially because the seasons here in Norway are very distinct. Every day is different and every time of year brings its own atmosphere and beauty with it. As well as our life rhythm, also my photography is highly inspired by this constant change. Every time I’m out with my camera I just discover new motives and new natural phenomena.
Is there a subject/theme/idea you have been too afraid to approach yet and why?
What I would really like to experience is a photo trip to the Arctic. I was always fascinated by these vast worlds of ice, their frozen silence and deep cold. But I wouldn’t say I have been to afraid to approach it, I just haven’t had the chance yet.
Tell us a little bit about your path to photography. What ignited your passion? What is the biggest inspiration for your photography?
I always loved different atmospheres. Photography was a way to capture and keep them. When I look at a picture from a special moment, I’m immediately transported back to this time, to my feelings, my mood. With time I realized that it’s also a way for me to share this experience with other people. With photography I have the opportunity to portray the world exactly the way I see it and especially in times where I found it hard to see beauty in this world, it shifted my focus immediately. When I have a camera in my hand, I look at the world differently. I pay attention to the small things, I seek nice angles and I’m open for opportunities.
What is the greatest challenge for you in the photographic progress?
Almost all my pictures happen spontaneously. When I go out with my camera, I try to not have expectations or plans about what I want to achieve. The best pictures happen when I’m just open to what my surroundings are offering me that day. It happens so quickly to miss a detail or a special moment when I’m stuck with a certain idea. Letting go of my concepts and going into a state of pure openness can be challenging sometimes.
Life in Norway, as you picture it, seems to be simplistic. Has the current pandemic situation had an influence on your work in recent months?
We’re very lucky that our life hasn’t been influenced by the pandemic very much. We both work from home and, also, in general we don’t meet a lot of people. A few travel plans we had to cancel, but that’s no comparison to what other people had to go through.
After the online shop launch of “Art of Nature” in collaboration with Joachim Ingulstad – what comes next? What are your future plans as an individual artist and as an artist couple?
First, we want to keep expanding the online shop in its variety. Then we’re currently working on finding and establishing a home base, that gives us the stability to also focus on bigger projects. Our dream is to not only have an online shop, but also a real store someday. I personally would also like to focus more on my filmmaking. I’m planning to start a documentary series in the next coming years, where I'm portraying people with an inspiring or special story. But finding a home for ourselves and our art is the biggest priority right now.
Leena Henningsen is based in Norway. Prints are available in the online shop “Art of Nature”. For more information on Leena and her work, check out the following resources:
Official Artist Website
Online-Shop “Art of Nature”
Additional resources consulted for this interview:
Copyright for photographs: Leena Henningsen.