Luke Tierney - 10th Mar 2014

Art is at the essence of this promo for Jamie Isaac's She Dried directed by Phoebe Arnstein and Stephen Ledger-Lomas, which offers up more questions than answers. In keeping with the track's haunting vocals a mysterious performance is played out intercut with still-life compositions that somehow bring clarity to the scene and song itself, and in understanding the nuances in the interactions between Jamie Isaac and the older lady in black.

Directing for the first time as a team, Phoebe and Stephen – two photographers at heart – brought lighting and composition to the fore, with art the subject. As we have come to expect from Phoebe.

LT: How did the project come about?

PA & SL-L: When we first heard the track after being asked to pitch for the video treatment, we both started to formulate very strong visuals to accompany the song. Jamie already seemed to have developed an appealing visual aesthetic that we wanted to adhere to. 

Is there a definitive meaning to the relationship or storyline?

We knew it was brave to couple Jamie with a much older woman and we wanted to make sure that there was no definitive relationship created between them. However, the song is about loss, and we wanted to create a sense of mourning within the imagery. If we had to define our intentionally ambiguous story, it would be experiencing loss and grieving for something that is no longer there. 

Was it your aim to add depth to the ambiguous relationship with still life imagery?

We used the still life's to signify construction and deconstruction. At the climax of the song, objects begin to fall, break and shatter, which mimics the loss that Jamie sings about in the song. This also adds to the relationship between Jamie and the woman, as they are closely juxtaposed.

Is it hard to work in a partnership on something so creative?

It was quite tricky when we were developing the initial concept, as there are always so many ideas being flung backwards and forwards at all times of the day, however we quickly learnt a practical dialogue, which saw us through the whole process. 

Looking at Black Acre there seems to be a theme emerging. Is this how you visualise sound?

Black Acre and She Dried have both lent themselves to conceptual themes, Black Acre especially. I think making visuals to accompany music is the only time you can have the freedom to stitch together images that don't necessarily have to make narrative sense. A good track can open the void to all sorts of disturbing and strange imagery. Our next video might like to see more narrative structure, but it entirely depends on the piece. 

What do you think about music videos current role in culture?

With commissioning budgets being so small and expectations being so high, it's really exciting to be making videos as your creative license is very liberal. It's a fun but volatile platform for directors and cinematographers to be creating on.

• Check out Luke Tierney's blog, Word Is Cheap, or his Twitter @wordischeap, for more thoughts on his favourite music videos.


DirectorPhoebe Arnstein
DirectorStephen Ledger-Lomas
EditorAlex Berry
Set designSarah Parker

Luke Tierney - 10th Mar 2014

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