The Art of Inspiration

The Art of Inspiration

By: Johan Sorenson

Photography, like any other artistic medium, is a product of the matter or theme that has inspired its creator. Inspiration is the catalyst that breathes life into photography, whether it be evoking powerful emotions, or capturing a fleeting moment in time.

In the first chapter of LUMIX Stories, we look to internationally award-winning Canadian photographer Johan Sorensen to get a deeper insight into his creative process when designing photo shoots and how inspiration affects him.


JS: The idea for the shoot comes from art that inspires me such as, sculpture, paintings, books and music. It also begins with a discussion of an outline with my stylist and then we start looking at models for the shoot.


JS: I have always been drawn to Rembrandt’s style of lighting and mood. Pertaining to the human form, I find Auguste Rodin to be inspiring as well. Musically, I have found classical music to be very inspirational but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Jazz. The mood of the music can set the tone of the shoot. In this business, imagination is very important and I have been honing my imagination for many years.


JS: When I was younger, I had many ideas for creative shoots, but I never had the knowledge or the necessary equipment to capitalize on these ideas. As I progressed through my career, I started working on my own but realized my vision can only go so far without collaboration. I learned that I needed a stylist. They have their own creative process that can hopefully complement mine.


JS: One can be very rigid in their creative vision especially when it comes to commercial shoots. The client is dictating the parameters of the shoot; therefore, you’re at the whim of the client. When you’re doing your own creative shoot, your team becomes crucial in fulfilling your vision. Communicating with your team is very important.


JS: The worst thing you can do to yourself is to have your team show up on shoot day and not have a clear picture of your vision. Nobody likes to be surprised. Another important aspect to a shoot is your model. I have always been fond of working with models that have a creative background themselves. It helps in the shoot when the model knows how to move his or her body or understands expression through physicality.


JS: I’ve been working as a photographer for over 35 years and the technical aspect of photography has changed considerably through those years. I have now switched over to the LUMIX mirrorless system, specifically the Panasonic LUMIX GH4. The quality and sharpness of the lenses are there in the mirrorless systems. The usability of the products has changed as well. I used to use large bulky cameras like full-frame Hasselblad. With new technology, massive file sizes are not necessary for good quality. It also helps in processing and editing.


JS: For lighting, we used to need large lighting rigs, but lights have become smaller and easier to set up. The LUMIX GH4 is capable of handling very high ISO; therefore we can crank up our ISO but not necessarily the lighting. And now with 4K Photo Mode in the LUMIX line, we can take a video of a shoot and then pull out a full 8MP file at 30fps in 4K mode. The quality is outstanding and I no longer miss an opportunity when shooting.

Each photographer varies in their creative process, which is why the end product is always unique. Our LUMIX Storytellers each bring a different form of depth and experience to crafting their stories. Use them as your guide to developing your own process, and share your photographic and video stories with us by using #lumixcan and #lumixstories on Twitter & Instagram.

Shot with LUMIX GH4 and 42.5mm Leica lens