When you deconstruct the evocative,
Grammy-nominated stop-motion animation video clip of Oren Lavie's song
"Her Morning Elegance" what you're left with is 2,321 photographs that
were shot and sequenced to create the sense of motion.
instead of letting the original photography sit on a hard disc
gathering cyberdust, the Israeli singer/songwriter, and the
photographer of the sessions, Eyal Landesman, have devised a project as
inspiringly innovative as the video, which has been viewed over 10
million times on YouTube - they're breaking down the motion back to its
still form and selling some of the original photographs.
So for the three days, beginning January 28, leading up to the
Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, where Lavie's clip is competing as a
clear underdog against Depeche Mode, Coldplay and Black Eyed Peas in
the category "Best Short Form Music Video," he and Landesman are going
to be exhibiting and selling a select 22 stills from the video at the
Burgamot Station Gallery in Santa Monica, and online at
www.hmegallery.com. The opening night will feature a performance by
"It was clear that people liked the video, with all the hits on
YouTube and the Grammy nomination. We thought it would be a nice idea
to enable people to have a moment from the project," said the
39-year-old Landesman from the Tel Aviv photography studio he shares
with colleague Eldad Rafaeli.
During 2009, the "Her Morning Elegance" video became
something of a pop phenomena, discussed, featured and analyzed in
blogs, magazines and TV shows worldwide, screened at the Cannes Lion
festival, the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase, the LA
film festival, and the SXSW showcase, among others. The culmination of
the acclaim came in December, when the clip received the Grammy
"We've printed only one copy of each still photograph on a high
quality photo paper, and by doing so created only one 'physical'
sequence of the entire video. People will be able to break the motion
of the video and freeze the moment that they would like to own. Once
they buy that photograph, it will be darkened in the sequence and they
will become the only owners of that split second. These are the
originals, and they'll come signed and with a number. Once they're
sold, we won't have it anymore, it's gone," said Landesman.
video - produced with the Tel Aviv-based husband and wife animation
team of Yuval and Merav Nathan - chronicles the fantastic dream of a
sleeping woman, which never leaves her bedroom, using her mattress as
the canvas for the dream and her bed frame as the dolly of her journey.
The photos are strung together in a seamless manner that gives the
impression the women is actually moving.
"I had done some work in stop motion for a project in the Acre
Festival a few years ago, but I didn't really know the term for it,"
said Landesman. "When I sat with Oren, Yuval and Merav, and we worked
out the storyboard and the whole concept, I began to understand - I
never knew it had a title.
"As a photographer, I try to capture the moment. But what
happens when the moment is 100 images per second? I had to rethink a
lot of what I knew and work with a timeline, and think about what was
before and what's going to come after, and after that, for 2,000
photos. It was a totally different way of thinking."
THE HAIFA native has been thinking out of the box, though, ever
since beginning his photography career in 1993 as a photojournalist for
Yediot Tikshoret. He eventually moved on to a new agency and, by
2000, had positioned himself as a portrait photographer specializing in
theater and dance.
"I didn't really like the life of a photojournalist, and when I
discovered the world of theater and dance, I learned that I loved
photographing those images - the illusions and the dark places. I like
finding the border between reality and illusion," he said, describing
his most recent project, 15 Minutes, which was displayed at last year's Avignon Theater Festival in France.
"It deals totally with the 15 minutes before the curtain goes up
on a show. In Israel, it's called the second ring, but elsewhere the
actors don't need to know that there's 15 minutes left. You can feel
the change in the atmosphere," said Landesman. "That time period is
very special. The performers are already in their stage clothes, the
lighting is different - it's like the fine edge between theater and
Making his living working with the leading theater and dance
companies and festivals in Israel, Landesman certainly did not have a
Grammy nomination on his mind when he agreed to take the photos for
"Her Morning Elegance." But he's excited about attending the ceremony
on the 31st, as well as the upcoming gallery exhibit.
"I really don't know what our chances are, but I'm going to enjoy it," he said.
And because he knows there are so many more where they came
from, he's even going to enjoy parting with the original prints of his
photography, with some proceeds being earmarked to various charities.
"It was very difficult to choose just 22 - it took us about a
week. And I know that given more time, I would probably choose
different frames - I love them all," he said, adding that there are
plans for exhibits of some of the remaining photos from the clip to be
held throughout the year in New York, Tel Aviv and perhaps more
And the cost? Well, Landesman and Lavie haven't gotten around to that yet.
"We actually haven't settled on a price yet, but it won't be
very expensive. The idea about pop art is that anyone should be able to