NO MUSIC NO LIFE: Les Feuilles Mortes

I’m really excited to present the second image of my new series: No Music No Life. This series mixes photography and behind the scenes videos. I ask my subject what their favorite song is and then, try to represent that song in a single image. I also shoot some behind the scenes footage, including an interview of my subject, and present it to you with the chosen song as background music.

So last Friday, I met up with Christine at the Librairie Jullien in Geneva’s Old Town. Her song is the beautiful french song from the 40s «Les Feuilles Mortes» by Yves Montand. Literally, “les feuilles mortes” are dead leaves (or autumn leaves). But in french a “feuille” is not only a leaf but also a sheet of paper. So instead of going for the obvious, we decided to shoot this in a library with a whole lot (188!) of old letters Christine has kept over the years. These letters — and maybe the books some day — are or might be dead leaves…


Regarding the shoot, I had originally planned for a different location but that fell through at the last minute. So I posted a message on Facebook asking if anyone knew about a cool location. A few minutes later, I had several location possibilities. The same went on when I posted looking for an old school typewriter. After posting a message, I received an SMS from an old neighbor telling me I can borrow hers anytime. I love social media and this sense of community!

I lit the set with 4 lights. My main light was a gridded beauty dish (I’m really liking this modifier!). I had a stripbox below the beauty dish that acted as a fill. It helped me highlight the typewriter and separate it from Christine’s legs. I also had an SB-900 laying on the ground behind books to make the shovel pop and a last one in the bookshelf to light the letters on the ground. Here’s the lighting diagram to make things easier to understand.


We had a lot of fun shooting and I have to thank Christine for putting up with keeping that typewriter on her lap for the length of the shoot. It was extremely HEAVY

Anyway, enough chatting, here is the behind the scenes video as well as the final image.


5 Responses

  1. Marc

    Très sympa cette 2nd photo et le BTS qui va avec;-) Parfait pour apprendre!
    Tu as trouvé une mise en scène pour ma chanson? Pas facile, j’imagine!
    Marc recently posted: [Cycle Strobist] Canon Speedlite 430EX II vs Cactus AF50 vs Yongnuo Yn-568EXMy Profile

  2. Mike Harrop

    Congrats – these ambiance storylets on your blog are an an exceptional idea. They hit so many web era hot-buttons like story-telling, personalized atmospheres, techie factoids, mix of modern and vintage, soloco… Loved it.
    Mike Harrop recently posted: Hop
    One of the moves at
    http://www.fifteening.comMy Profile

  3. Christine

    Thanks so much Josh for giving me this opportunity to revive dead leaves and create new souvenirs :)


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