The Danish Filmmaker Reveals an Exclusive Collection of His Unseen Personal Photography
A knight in shining armor in a drained swimming pool and a boy silhouetted by fire in a favela street are among the gems in acclaimed director Martin de Thurah’s curated selection of his archived photographs. Taken whenever De Thurah could steal a moment from shooting his various projects over the past several years, the images are awash with the soaring imagination the young director has become known for. In addition to new music videos for indie sensation Feist—the latest appears on NOWNESS tomorrow—and an upcoming collaboration between St. Vincent and Talking Heads legend David Byrne, the Copenhagen-based De Thurah recently wrapped production on a short film inspired by Edward Hopper and filmed in Mexico City. Behind award-winning videos for the likes of Kanye West, James Blake and Fever Ray, the director has also helmed commercials for IKEA, and his short film Young Man Falling was selected for the Cannes Critics’ Week in 2008. “All these images come from a co-existing world happening while I'm doing work-related things,” explains the graduate of Denmark’s prestigious National Film School. “When I’m on set I just run around and shoot at the same time, and then they usually just get filed in secrecy.” Here De Thurah shares the stories behind the compelling visuals.
“Knight in Swimming Pool”
The man is in the swimming pool in full armor. It looks also like a lost world, from another time. It's from a scene I shot for an upcoming short film in Mexico City a month ago.
“Smoke in Trees”
Smoke was left in the smoke machine on this early Denmark morning. I tried to make a cloud in some trees. This was after we had shot a video for [Danish alt-rock group] Mew. Another all-nighter.
“Man and Dog”
This is from a Feist video I shot last December for "The Bad in Each Other.” I was running around while on set—my work inside the work.
“House in Fog, Croatia”
I have a lot of these, houses in fog––there’s quite a bit of fog following me. We were scouting for an IKEA commercial in 2006. The house looked like a painting, an iconic, simple house.
I photographed him in a garden in Montevideo, Uruguay—he just had these wild eyes. This was maybe three years ago.
“Ray of Light”
This is the result of us adjusting a lamp to make it look like a beam of light is coming out of her head. We're in a monks’ school in England. It was a video ["Flowers and Football Tops"] for Glasvegas, maybe three years ago.
“Shaman, Mexico City”
This is a real shaman we found on the street in Mexico City—he looks really otherworldly. I used him and some of his friends in my new, unreleased film. It’s shot in a kitchen and I wanted him to stand on the table, which you can’t see in the photo. An ex-girlfriend of mine once made a film about a healer and she put him on the dinner table in her childhood home, where she had a lot of problems. She made him try to heal the family’s conflicts. I thought that was a brilliant idea.
“Morning in Berlin”
My friend Ea is sleeping on this girl Claude's lap. I was shooting a James Blake video last year ["Lindisfarne"], and we only had one night to do it so everyone is tired, and we're still sitting there in the morning. This is the ending of the video.
We were really delayed, we had to shoot from a helicopter in Romania, and we actually flew through a snowstorm and got quite motion-sick up there. But it was really beautiful. I was shooting for an air service rescue company in Switzerland. I think in 2007 or 2008.
“Favela on Fire”
We had lit a maze of fire trails in the favela, and I had a young guy who would act the scene for the same Feist video. We didn't use any of the fire in the video.
Check back tomorrow for De Thurah’s latest video for Feist's "Anti-Pioneer," exclusively on NOWNESS.