All Images by Lennart Bader. Used with Permission.
Intimate portraiture is less about a sexy subject or an immaculately furnished set location, it’s all about the feeling, the emotion, the character of the frame. It has a raw, real, but at the same time warm and inviting feel. Lennart Bader has spent years developing his style of intimate portraiture, which blends a sexy boudoiresqe environment with elements of lifestyle portraiture and color theory to create these powerful and intimate images.
Like many high school aged kids, Lennart Bader was influenced by the friends around him. One summer, when a friend received a Canon 300D and 50mm lens he was blown away by the look of the images taken with a wide open aperture. For his next birthday he requested a camera of his own, and ended up receiving a Canon 350D. “That’s when my addiction to photography and cameras begun.” He tells The Phoblographer.
Mr. Bader’s experimentation with photography as he aged was less about taking images of anything and everything, a very common reaction to learning photography, instead he focused on his retouching and playing with his images to give them a look and feel that he wanted – regardless of what it actually was like. “This retouching and especially coloring turned out to be my game changer: I always tried to colorize the pictures not like the scene LOOKED like when I lived these moments, but how it FELT like.” Mr Bader noted, “I started to think that I maybe should look into that more, that I might have some kind of special approach to taking and coloring pictures there. So why not try it with models?”
The goal of Mr. Bader’s intimate portraiture is to achieve that authentic feel, that intimate emotional response to viewing an image as if you were there, in the moment. “I capture moments how I lived them, so my goal is authenticity. I love to create results so that the viewer takes a look at a picture and basically lives the situation him/herself, feels the vibes, starts seeing the movement of the moment.” He says, and to achieve this he specifically stays away from overly posed and overthought images, instead giving his models more freedom, having them move around freely and capturing them and their real emotions/reactions throughout the shoot.
“I get the best results when I can develop a certain relationship with a model before and during a shoot, when there’s a connection evolving and you find your flow.” Mr. Bader says of the process, “The model then knows what I want and lets go of certain rules that he or she uses in other shoots, and that’s when the magic happens.”
These days Mr. Bader has come quite a ways from his Canon 350D, now choosing to capture his moments with a Canon 5D Mark III, which he says 90% of the time is paired with the Sigma 35mm F/1.4 ART – his favorite lens. But with the impressive results he is seeing from Fujifilm and Sony shooters, that may soon change he notes “For now, I stick with Canon because it just feels familiar. If I’m not really convinced by the upcoming 5D IV, there might come a change of equipment in the future though.”
You can find more of Lennart Bader’s incredible intimate portraiture over on his Behance profile here, a selection of this work is also available below.