Michelle Alexis Newman

Photographer. Creative. Satire.

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My Landlady Lip-sync's Her Favorite Song

Watch it here!

So back in March I saw the Rineke Dijkstra exhibition in San Francisco. She had this particular video piece that is just one shot of a close-up of a little girl singing a long to her favorite song. I love this piece because the little girl goes through waves of being self-conscious that she is being filmed and then moments where she is totally lost in the song.

I've wanted to experiment with literal video portraits lately and I felt that something like the Dijkstra piece would be my interpretation for this class. When I say “literal”, I mean one shot, no movements and no cuts. If the subject wasn't moving it could basically be a photograph.

ENTER my landlady, Carol Lyn Black, 89-years-young. I asked her what her favorite song was and she just started singing "Happy Days are here again...". So I found an upbeat version of this song (which is actually surprisingly hard). Put a pair of headphones on her and had her lip-sync along to the song. She gets lost in the words, she totally makes up parts to the song but it's about watching her as she goes for it and loves it which is how everyone's favorite song should make them feel.

Full disclosure: I do have some background in Video, my skills are rusty but generally I can figure out what I want to do. I also have the gear BUT I could have easily done this project with my iphone and Imovie. I'm a big believer in being able to tell a great story using what you have.

Lighting: My living room has big windows covered with sheer white curtains that defuse the light. I then used a reflector as a fill. The effect at the beginning and the end is me raising and lowering this reflector.

Background: A large piece of drawing paper taped on the wall. I wanted to isolate Carol so you only focus on her actions and movements.

Camera: 5DMarkii

Edited: Final cut pro 10x

Music: Happy Days Are Here Again by Annette Handshaw

It's always an experiment! Let me know if you have any questions or comments! I'm happy to address them!

Watch it here!

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