When two creative minds join forces amazing things can happen. And that was exactly the case when local pianist Sarah Spring and Sandy McLennan got together.
Spring, who recently released Prints, a CD featuring all-original compositions on the piano, is familiar with McLennan’s work as a motion picture maker and photographer. For many years Spring has been a model for McLennan’s wife, local artist Beverley Hawksley.
“I had the idea that I’d like to make videos for some of the pieces on my album and I knew I wanted to make one for the song ‘Prints’,” said Spring. “A few months ago, Sandy asked me to play his piano that was in his house because they were going to give it away and he wanted to do some work with analog motion picture. He ended up taking some really neat pictures of my hands on the keyboard.”
Those images struck a chord in Spring. McLennan’s use of an old-school method of photography was just what Spring wanted for her video. It evoked a feeling of nostalgia.
It was a really fun and creative project.Sarah Spring
Analog motion picture is a technique of animation using a Double 8 mm camera. There is nothing digital about it and it requires the process of using film, chemicals and a dark room to develop the images.
McLennan learned the process of photo chemical film processing and analog video back when he attended college in the 1970s. He has never given up this old-school method of photography and film making.
In the video, while Spring’s hands are sometimes seen, the focal point is really the paper dolls. They appear to dance, and that is the result of McLennan taking one picture at a time.
“That’s the mystery and magic of it. You do this one thing but you can’t see what you’ve done,” he says. “You have to put time into developing the film and then you put it on a projector to see if you got anything. There are 80 pictures per foot. You can’t tell the motion until you’ve put it on the projector.”
McLennan admits he’s driven to be in the experience not by the end result.
I put the camera and recorder between myself and the world. You hope there’s something visible or audible after that. But that comes second. Sandy McLennan
Spring was amazed at how McLennan captured the “old cut and paste feel” that she wanted for her video. She also said the two worked quietly but were entirely focused on what they were doing.
McLennan said that at home, Spring’s music is very much a part of he and his wife’s daily life. In fact, Spring played the piano at McLennan and Hawksley’s wedding.
“She’s a lovely artist and person,” he said. “We’re very pleased to know her and I was very happy to do work with her.”
Check out Spring and McLennan’s one-of-a-kind video for her song Prints:
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