Alan Henriksen

While researching photographers for Assignment 5, I came across the work of Alan Henriksen featured in LensCulture. His body of work is entitled “Acadia – Upper Hadlock Pond“. I was particularly drawn to the way he expresses water, as my subject for Assignment 5, Finn Slough, features similar aspects.

The body of work is, in a nutshell, a narrative about the Upper Hadlock Pond, in all its distinctive moods. The pond is located on Mount Desert Island in Maine and spans an area of approximately 35 acres. Henriksen’s images are in black and white and feature lily leaves and reeds in the pond water, which I find highly expressive and which rather remind me of Japanese silk screens. By confining the colour palette to black and white, the photographer has removed the distraction that colours would have brought to the images and so the expressive nature of the images really comes to the fore.

Upper Hadlock Pond 55, © Alan Henriksen Image reproduced with permission

Upper Hadlock Pond 55, © Alan Henriksen
Image reproduced with permission

The work takes on an abstract form, with light being the key player in the series. Some of the photographs where the water reeds grow prolifically look like a sketcher’s dark cross hatchings exercises (Upper Hadlock Pond 23: Image 13 of 20). The first image (Upper Hadlock Pond 55: Image 1 of 20, seen left) is high key image with a few reeds and lily leaves are scattered across the image. The pond water is rendered mirror smooth and a very light muted grey, almost white in colour with a soft gradation in tone down towards the bottom right of the frame in a barely perceptible triangular form, which subtly keeps returning the viewer to the reeds.  This is my favourite image. I like the verticals of the reeds and their reflections in the water, and the contrasting circular form of the lily leaves which serve to lead the eye back around the frame again.

I find the lighter toned images in the series convey a sense of calm and serenity, while the darker ones seem troubled and have a sense of foreboding or disturbance, a sense of an approaching storm perhaps. Who knows what lurks beneath the surface? Movement is detected in all the images by the ripples in the water, probably caused by a breeze or wind blowing across the water, with the exception of the first image – again emphasising the serenity of the moment. Throughout the series one is very aware of the light quality which plays on the convolutions of the ripples, the shadows of their troughs and the reflections off their crests, as well as the shadows and highlights striking the reeds and lily leaves. This is also a collection of images consisting of three design elements, namely verticals, horizontals and circles and I find it really inspiring that one subject can be expressed in so many different ways. Definitely something to work towards.

More of Alan Henriksen’s work can be viewed on his website.


Alan Henriksen Photography [online]. Available from: [Accessed 25 March, 2015]

Henriksen, Alan. (2013) Acadia – Upper Hadlock Pond [online]. LensCulture. Available from: [Accessed 25 March, 2015]

Upper Hadlock Pond in Acadia National Park, Maine [online]. Available from: [Accessed 26 March, 2015]


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