Wasting My Young Years: London Grammar [BTS]

One of the things I loved about taking photography in high school is that it was still very much an analog experience. In fact, it was that class that forever cemented me to photography as a process, something that required time, attention and intent to make it real. Before we were even allowed to use a camera, we spent time making photograms, simply laying various objects on sheets of photo paper and using the sun to expose the image. Once in the darkroom, white paper faded to black, broken up by wonderful shapes and shadows. This was my first experience with making any sort of photographic image, and one that has stayed with me ever since. From photograms, we moved on to pinhole photography, making our own “cameras” from Quaker Oats tubes. It was a wonderfully incremental step up from the photograms, with the stark contrast of white shapes on black paper replaced with an actual image – a photograph. I was mesmerised at the notion that a simple box with a piece of tinfoil as a “lens” was somehow able to produce a photograph. So, when I saw this video that Karl Taylor posted to his Facebook wall, it took me right back to those early mornings in the darkroom at Upland High.

London Grammar is a fantastic band out of the UK who just released their first full-length album called If You Wait. To create the haunting video for the track Wasting My Young Years, Owen Silverwood and Dave Bullivant of Bison shot on 35mm film, as well as a custom-built pinhole camera bullet time rig, with absolutely incredible results. “So, the rig is basically a load of pinhole cameras,” the duo says. “So, the idea becomes looking at one moment from many perspectives, as opposed to many moments from one perspective which you would get from a normal music video.” To set up the rig, all of the lights in the studio had to be turned off, while the team  – wearing photographic gloves – loaded the long strip of film in the dark. “We essentially made the entire room into a giant camera,” they said. One of the things I love about this project is how hands-on the directors were, down to developing the film themselves in buckets in the space where it was shot. Also interesting is that the project required very little post, instead allowing the actual process to become the aesthetic of the finished piece. The project looks like it was a wonderfully collaborative effort and, as I wrote earlier, the results are just fantastic. Watch the full video HERE

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