Deconstructing Jean-Baptiste Mondino

I'm really getting into the photography and films of the French fashion photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino, so I'd spend a few posts writing my impressions of his work.

This video for Chris Isaac's tune "You Owe Me Some Kind of Love", made in 1987, is seemingly very simple. There's no obvious narrative and nothing "happens". Yet the video never gets boring. Let's take a look at why.

Much of the pleasure of this video is achieved with the camera panning from left to right throughout the entire film, as various objects are slowly revealed, and then disappear. Musicians and a model are displayed through multiple image planes, and it's a careful concoction of camera movement, lighting, choreography and textures that holds your interest. Lush flowers pan across the foreground, revealing the model in a floral dress, on a floral sofa. A gold scrollwork rolls through the middle ground for no apparent purpose but to create textural interest. Silhouettes appear against a purple sunset backdrop. These objects are not randomly selected. Like a masterfully blended fragrance, there's no one element that sticks out over anything else, and your attention is gently drawn to a focal point - a pair of eyes or lips, Mr. Isaac's face or the body of his guitar. Objects are lit with flickering lights to create continuity between the textural elements. The camera pans across the back of Chris Isaac's head, taking advantage of his incredible profile (it's so nice, why not show it twice?) and this rotating motion is mirrored in the movement of the guitarist who appears next. These repeating motion effects are simple and pleasing. At nearly every point we have something new to look at, or a new way of looking at it.