Artist Torleif Lie searches for a magical, dreamlike expression in his photographs and lives for creating timeless imagery portraying a deeper perspective.
He seeks to touch his audience’s soul and mind and present them with something they have not before seen. Now the artist has gone underwater to create unique imagery in the magical and mysterious world of weightlessness.
Dressed in a large silk fabric, Ingvild Aase moves slowly through the pool with water reaching her chest. The vibrant pink fabric flows in glittering waves behind her as she walks down the underwater catwalk. Torleif Lie is submerged underwater, breathing through a snorkel while he photographs Aase with an underwater camera system. After the model has walked down the catwalk the two gathers together to study the photographs from the most recent session. – Your movements were elegant and sublime, and there were wonderful waves in the silk fabric, says Lie to Aase afterward.
This type of work requires a lot of patience and fine-tuning. Every little detail is essential. All the elements need to coincide to achieve the desired result, which is not easy to accomplish when working in such a challenging underwater environment. Controlling the air bubbles, how the model moves her body and how the fabric flows in the water, are all crucial factors. Even a misplaced finger can make the difference between a sublime image and an unusable one.
Torleif Lie is an award-winning photographer with a career in underwater photography spanning more than a decade. Born in Stavanger, Norway, with his ancestors from Telemark, he currently resides in Vråliosen. His work takes him on journeys all over the world.
Due to the pandemic and recent traveling restrictions, he decided to seek artistic opportunities in his local community. – Gaining access to a commercial pool of this size is not easily attained. Due to the pandemic, the pool was closed for the public, and we were fortunate to be granted exclusive access for several weeks, he says
The swimming pool at Straand hotel in Vrådal has been converted into a photo studio. Lie has been planning this project for three months and has spent two weeks building an underwater studio. For the last three weeks, he has been photographing models underwater.
–For the first time in my career, I have had the opportunity to create the artistic underwater imagery of divine models I have been dreaming of, says Lie.
The artist desired to work with local models, and he is grateful for the opportunity to work with Ingvild Aase from Seljord. – Ingvild does not have prior modeling experience, but she is incredibly talented. Her ability to gracefully move and express herself underwater is exceptional, says Lie.
Aase says that the collaboration between the two came about a bit by chance and that her day job is working as a kindergarten teacher in Bø. For the last couple of weeks, she has driven one and a half hours each day to model in the pool in Vrådal. – We keep working for as long as Ingvild decides. I am very impressed by how long she endures in the water and how late in the evenings we work, especially considering she will attend her day job early tomorrow morning, says Lie.
– My desire is to capture a dreamlike freedom in a weightless state with focus on the beautiful and mysterious. Images that convey an underlying message and a deeper perspective, tells the artist.
Creating a beautiful image of a model in a studio is one thing. To accomplish this underwater is an entirely different challenge. On their first day, they worked exclusively on teaching breathing and modeling techniques. – It`s exciting work, but also very demanding. There are so many considerations; if one finger is out of place, the photograph can be ruined, says Aase.
– We live in a world that is oversaturated by photographs. Nice, easy, and ordinary has been done before, Lie says. He wants to create something new, something unique, and he has found his arena underwater.
Aase moves gracefully down the underwater catwalk with the vibrant silk fabric flowing several meters behind her. A burst of flashes fires from below the surface, creating a fascinating spectacle. After each session, they study the photographs and decide on small adjustments for the next session.
Now it’s time for a break. Even with a comfortable water temperature, the body gets cold after several hours in the pool. Both the model and the photographer takes a hot shower to prepare for the next session.
– Underwater photography requires one to work in a slow phase. It’s a demanding medium to work in, but the results can be incredibly rewarding, says Lie.
For the next shoot, Aase changes into a dress. Elegantly dressed as for a summer party, she enters the pool. This time they are both completely submerged underwater. Lie photographs her as she dives under and swims across the pool. From above, she looks like a princess from a fairy tale as she gracefully glides through the water.
Lie`s devotion to his craft is admirable with his artwork sourced by collectors worldwide. – I am passionately interested in creating timeless imagery with an underlaying message. Early in my career I made the conscious decision to only offer my work on the finest museum grade art materials in the world, says Lie.
After completing three weeks of photographing models in the pool, months of editing work and print testing awaits. The result will be outstanding, with a premium price to match the quality of his work. – Do you live for art – Yes, I live for creating timeless imagery, and I feel privileged to make a living of my greatest passion.
Based on the original article in Norwegian by Kari Smeland – Vest-Telemark Blad