In the frame for a Grammy

Some of Landesman's shots for 'Her Morning Elegance' go on sale.

oren lavie 248.88 (photo credit: )
oren lavie 248.88
(photo credit: )
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 thatwere shot and sequenced to create the sense of motion.
Now,instead of letting the original photography sit on a hard discgathering cyberdust, the Israeli singer/songwriter, and thephotographer of the sessions, Eyal Landesman, have devised a project asinspiringly innovative as the video, which has been viewed over 10million times on YouTube - they're breaking down the motion back to itsstill form and selling some of the original photographs.
So for the three days, beginning January 28, leading up to theGrammy Awards in Los Angeles, where Lavie's clip is competing as aclear underdog against Depeche Mode, Coldplay and Black Eyed Peas inthe category "Best Short Form Music Video," he and Landesman are goingto be exhibiting and selling a select 22 stills from the video at theBurgamot Station Gallery in Santa Monica, and online atwww.hmegallery.com. The opening night will feature a performance byLavie
"It was clear that people liked the video, with all the hits onYouTube and the Grammy nomination. We thought it would be a nice ideato enable people to have a moment from the project," said the39-year-old Landesman from the Tel Aviv photography studio he shareswith colleague Eldad Rafaeli.
During 2009, the "Her Morning Elegance" video becamesomething of a pop phenomena, discussed, featured and analyzed inblogs, magazines and TV shows worldwide, screened at the Cannes Lionfestival, the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase, the LAfilm festival, and the SXSW showcase, among others. The culmination ofthe acclaim came in December, when the clip received the Grammynomination.
"We've printed only one copy of each still photograph on a highquality photo paper, and by doing so created only one 'physical'sequence of the entire video. People will be able to break the motionof the video and freeze the moment that they would like to own. Oncethey buy that photograph, it will be darkened in the sequence and theywill become the only owners of that split second. These are theoriginals, and they'll come signed and with a number. Once they'resold, we won't have it anymore, it's gone," said Landesman.
Thevideo - produced with the Tel Aviv-based husband and wife animationteam of Yuval and Merav Nathan - chronicles the fantastic dream of asleeping woman, which never leaves her bedroom, using her mattress asthe 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 theimpression the women is actually moving.
"I had done some work in stop motion for a project in the AcreFestival 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 workedout the storyboard and the whole concept, I began to understand - Inever knew it had a title.
"As a photographer, I try to capture the moment. But whathappens when the moment is 100 images per second? I had to rethink alot of what I knew and work with a timeline, and think about what wasbefore and what's going to come after, and after that, for 2,000photos. It was a totally different way of thinking."
THE HAIFA native has been thinking out of the box, though, eversince beginning his photography career in 1993 as a photojournalist forYediot Tikshoret. He eventually moved on to a new agency and, by2000, had positioned himself as a portrait photographer specializing intheater and dance.
"I didn't really like the life of a photojournalist, and when Idiscovered the world of theater and dance, I learned that I lovedphotographing those images - the illusions and the dark places. I likefinding the border between reality and illusion," he said, describinghis 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 upon a show. In Israel, it's called the second ring, but elsewhere theactors don't need to know that there's 15 minutes left. You can feelthe change in the atmosphere," said Landesman. "That time period isvery special. The performers are already in their stage clothes, thelighting is different - it's like the fine edge between theater andreality."
Making his living working with the leading theater and dancecompanies and festivals in Israel, Landesman certainly did not have aGrammy nomination on his mind when he agreed to take the photos for"Her Morning Elegance." But he's excited about attending the ceremonyon 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 camefrom, he's even going to enjoy parting with the original prints of hisphotography, with some proceeds being earmarked to various charities.
"It was very difficult to choose just 22 - it took us about aweek. And I know that given more time, I would probably choosedifferent frames - I love them all," he said, adding that there areplans for exhibits of some of the remaining photos from the clip to beheld throughout the year in New York, Tel Aviv and perhaps morelocations.
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 bevery expensive. The idea about pop art is that anyone should be able toown it."