Last year, the directors and filmmakers Amaury Voslion and Richard Dumas asked us if they could borrow the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control art lens to shoot the Tindersticks’s new video. We were really enthusiastic to participate in this project! Today, we are happy to announce the exclusive launch of the video, right here on Lomography’s website! You’ve read it right: you are the FIRST ones to enjoy this new visual adventure straight from their latest album titled ‘The Waiting Room.’ Plus, Stuart Staples of Tindersticks, Amaury Voslion and Richard Dumas tell us more about themselves and their work in this exclusive interview.
Please introduce yourself.
Amaury Voslion: I am Amaury Voslion , a writer and filmmaker. I have been in love with photography for 40 years.
Richard Dumas: I’m Richard Dumas, photographer. I shoot portraits for myself, press and magazines, and also for CD or album covers, for example, Moondog, Alain Bashung, Miossec, Etienne Daho, and most recently the cover of the new Tindersticks album. Last year, after shooting the album cover for the French band Les Innocents, they insisted that I also shoot the video for the song “Les philharmonies martiennes.” Because I’m not a great fan of music videos I was quite reluctant. And also, I didn’t want to film by myself; I think it’s totally different from taking photographs. It’s only after meeting the director Amaury Voslion, who shot and directed a documentary on my work, that I knew I had met my soul brother (this guy films like I take pictures) and that I could accept to co-direct the video for Les Innocents.
Stuart A. Staples: I sing and write for the band Tindersticks.
Could you tell us more about the genesis of both the song and the video? How did it start?
Amaury: For myself, everything began when I realised a documentary portrait of Richard Dumas for the collection S’il n’en restait qu’une (If only a single one were left). I filmed him, and he photographed me. It was like the boot was on the other foot now! Then, he invited me to co-produce the video for the Les Innocents song “Les philharmonies martiennes.” We’d already tried the Diana and Petzval 80 mm lenses.
Stuart: The song began as a musical idea from Dan Mckinna. Though it was not obvious, it had something very exciting. We spent a couple of days together, took it completely apart then put it back together again in a strange way—I love that it retains the beauty of Dan’s original playing but deep inside it has been implanted a restless tension always working, gnawing away. I bought the donkey head a few years ago from a great theatrical antiques shop in Strasbourg—he is apparently 100 years old. Sometimes I wear him around the house, he has become a kind of alter-ego. We had a photo session for the album arranged with Richard. I thought I would take the head along, see what happens. Richard and I have known each other a long time, there is a lot of trust between us. When Richard was introduced to donkey man he put down his champagne and rushed to get his camera—the next day was a lot of fun and the session spawned the great album cover and the booklet of the donkey man and his wife that goes with it. The idea of the film—a day in the life—was born that day. Suzanne and I started to make a storyboard and discussed with Richard.
Stuart, what were your feelings when you were wearing the donkey mask?
Stuart: I can feel safe, free of my personality and very calm. But I am also very aware that this new character is fractured, broken somehow.
You’ve used the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control. Why did you choose this lens?
Amaury: When Richard told me we were going to shoot for Tindersticks, we imagined the frame we wanted for the piece—which moved me a lot. We were making our filters; there is not any effect made in post-production, just a tiny calibration. With Richard, we thought again about the Petzval, just because it was exactly in the range we were interested in. The scenario, which was directly from the cover Richard made for the album The Waiting Room, was like a surrealist and melancholic poetry. We were trying to produce a frame which could transmit this idea.
Richard: I met Tindersticks in Rennes, my hometown, some twenty years ago after a concert that changed my life. I met them aftershow, took pictures and since then we have had a wonderful collaboration. Last year, after I shot the cover of their new album The Waiting Room, Stuart Staples, the singer, did me the great honour of asking me to shoot a video or short film on a song I adore, “How He Entered”. Happily, Amaury was pleased to join again to co-direct with me. I wanted to avoid the feeling of digital image, so I asked Amaury if he could try Lomo lenses as I’ve been a lomographer for almost twenty years now. I told him I would like to have the mood of Carl Dreyer’s movies. He succeeded in this with the Petzval, which we used on half of the movie. We added just a little extra that will remain a secret in the kitchen!
What is your favorite sequence?
Amaury: It’s complicated, because I love that video so much. You have to understand that working with Richard is such a pleasure for me! I’m a fan of Tindersticks since Trouble Every Day by Claire Denis. Meeting Stuart Staples and his wife Suzanne Osborne, and working for the four of us to make that film—even if I know I made the film—I feel like I am a spectator. That’s because I admire their work. So, if I had to choose one, it would be the scene with the photographer, because the three of them are in my frame. Suzanne is exceptional, she looks like a star of mute cinema in that scene.
Richard: They’re all my favorites and it’s really a whole. But the last shot of the immobile donkey smoking—the music stops, the birds song enters—always gives me a special thrill. And I want to start again!
Stuart: The opening—working on his boat, his dream. It was not easy for me and Suzanne to get hold of that boat, but we knew it was important.
The video is a story that evokes many topics like artistic creation, dream, melancholy. Could you explain to us why you chose to shoot a short film instead of a common music video clip?
Amaury: Because nothing is more beautiful than making movies.
Richard: When we finished the making of the donkey cover, Stuart had the feeling we had given birth to a real character and he wanted me to direct a short film showing the donkey’s daily life. That was the beginning. Amaury joined and we had the perfect team, with Stuart and his wife Suzanne, writing a sort of screenplay. We returned to the scene of the crime and shot like a film, not like a music video. The image is in no way an illustration of the lyrics. All the feelings come from the meeting of the music and the image, almost by accident.
Could you all depict the look of your own “waiting room”?
Richard: Red Velvet and a bed.
Stuart: It looks like my studio.
Richard and Stuart, you’ve been lomographers for a long time. Could you share with us your Lomography story?
Richard: Around 1995 a friend of mine, Richard Ignazzi, who was one of the first in the former French Lomo team, offered me a new LC-A direct from Vienna. I loved the point and shoot philosophy, a playful way of making photos. The approbation of accidents in creation is something I cherish.
Stuart: I was swept away by that initial wave when I first discovered Lomo at the end of 20th century. We scoured Moscow on our first visit there.
What is your best memory with the Lomo cameras ?
Richard: Buying in the nineties an original Russian LC-A, almost new, with the name in Russian!
Stuart: Definitely not the transport mechanism of the original LC-A! So many blank films! No, for the first time, a feeling of spontaneity and confidence in capturing a moment, with style!
Could you tell us more about the Lomography cameras you own? Maybe a favorite one?
Richard: Love Holga with glass lens and flash, and the new LC-A 120.
Stuart: Only one, the LC-A.
What does Lomography provide you in your work as a photographer/producer?
Amaury: I discovered Lomography’s lenses when shooting for Les Innocents. In black and white, they allowed to get that lack of sharpness which is so like the 16 mm. To tell stories with that flow, imprecise frame, to have some blurred zones in the frame, opens the door to fiction, poetry, cinema. If you can see everything, there is nothing left to guess, it’s always the same old rule.
What place does analog photography occupy in your work?
Richard: I shot a commercial for Alain Bashung on film. I still shoot mostly on films because it’s dramatically different to have a negative. Kafka wrote in his diaries: When you are born God gives you the positive, it’s up to you to build the negative.
Stuart: I wish it was more. I am a great admirer of Richard, his work and working methods, every corner of every frame considered, sometimes with great speed. We call him “The Master.”
According to you, why people are still doing analog photography?
Richard: Because when you shoot photos with analog cameras, you can’t look back.
Stuart: It’s like vinyl. Younger people are having a reaction to this digital age. The smart ones want crackles and pops, to handle real things, to enjoy the struggle. Makes me believe in the future of humanity!
Amaury: I’ll quote Richard who told me when we met ,“With digital, you can’t help yourself to look back. To check the photo you’ve just shot. But with analog, you doubt, you can’t guess how the frame will be.” I love that remark. I think that’s why we keep using analog.
Any other projects you would like to share?
Amaury: Make love not war!
If that song were just a word, what it would be?
Feb 25, 2016 – Annemasse, FR @ Château Rouge
Feb 26, 2016 – Reims, FR @ La Cartonnerie
Feb 27, 2016 – Arras, FR @ Théâtre d’Arras
Feb 28, 2016 – Rotterdam, NL @ De Doelen
Feb 29, 2016 – Amsterdam, NL @ Koninklijk Theater Carre
Mar 2, 2016 – Rouen, FR @ 106 Club
Mar 3, 2016 – Cenon, FR @ Rocher de Palmer
Mar 4, 2016 – Tarbes, FR @ Le Parvis
Mar 5, 2016 – Nîmes, FR @ Paloma
Mar 6, 2016 – Lausanne/Pully, CH @ Theatre de L’Octogone
Mar 7, 2016 – Zurich, CH @ Kaufleuten
Mar 9, 2016 – Vienna, AT @ Wiener Konzerthaus
Mar 11, 2016 – Munich, DE @ Kammerspiele
Mar 12, 2016 – Stuttgart, DE @ Im Wizemann
Mar 13, 2016 – Cologne, DE @ Gloria
Mar 14, 2016 – Hamburg, DE @ Kampnagel
Mar 20, 2016 – Antwerp, BE @ Bourla
Mar 21, 2016 – Antwerp, BE @ Bourla
Mar 22, 2016 – Leuven, BE @ Het Depot
Apr 14, 2016 – Barcelona, ES @ Guitar Festival
Apr 16, 2016 – Donostia-San Sebastian, ES @ Anfiteatro Miramon
Apr 19, 2016 – Paris, FR @ Le Bouffes du Nord
Apr 20, 2016 – Paris, FR @ Le Bouffes du Nord
Apr 21, 2016 – Paris, FR @ Le Bouffes du Nord
Apr 23, 2016 – Oslo, NO @ Chateau Neuf – Det Norske Studentersamfund
Apr 24, 2016 – Stockholm, Se @ Södra Teatern
Apr 25, 2016 – Stockholm, SE @ Södra Teatern
Apr 26, 2016 – Copenhagen, DK @ Koncerthuset
Apr 27, 2016 – Aarhus, DK @ Voxhall
Apr 29, 2016 – London, UK @ Barbican
Apr 30, 2016 Coventry, UK – @ Warwick Arts Centre
May 1, 2016 – Liverpool, UK @ Philharmonic Hall
May 2, 2016 – Manchester, UK @ Bridgewater Hall
May 3, 2016 – Edinburgh, UK @ Usher Hall
May 4, 2016 – Gateshead, UK @ Sage
May 6, 2016 – Cambridge, UK @ Corn Exchange
May 7, 2016 – Bristol, UK @ Colston Hall