It can be daunting to try to think of a completely new, never-been-done-before concept for a shoot. But sometimes, the answer is surprisingly simple. In an age in which everyone is touting shooting on the latest equipment with 4K video, while begging for ever-greater bit rates, Japanese designer Dan Tomimatsu took pause to give us something refreshingly simple and beautiful. Using a water droplet "stuck" inside a five-yen coin as a lens on an iPhone, Tomimatsu shot "O (eau)" with the intention of reminding the world that beauty can be found outside of razor-sharp 4K imagery.
The film is only several minutes long (and in Japanese, so take caution if you're subtitle-averse) and its screenwriting does a lovely job of capturing some intricate and beautiful things in our world. The end of the film (spoiler alert) ponders sunsets:
Ahh, sunset... Yeah, sunsets bring me nostalgia... I wonder why.
And sunrises don't, you know.
Of course, sunsets connote (both in literature and in the human mind) the end of the day, the end of an era, the end of a life, or a part thereof. All that remains to think of when watching, or perhaps, when feeling a sunset is what preceded it: the past (hence, the nostalgia discussed and felt throughout the film and throughout a sunset). Sunrises, on the other hand, mark the beginning of something new: a new day, a new life, a new beginning. Sunrises hold nothing but hope and excitement for the future.
"O (eau)" ("eau," by the way, means "water" in French and is pronounced as "oh" in English) covers themes relating to the past, present, and future in current life, past lives, and nostalgia. The entire dialogue takes heavy cues from the imagist movement, a movement that at times seems as though its only interest is in the expression of nostalgia, as it reads like a selection of pages from Ezra Pound's private journal. Thankfully, "O (eau)" is not accompanied by perfectly echoed imagery of the short film. Instead, green vegetation and a single young woman occupy most of the screen time through what often seems like the curious and perhaps vulnerable eye of the viewport created by the water droplet lens. Needless to say, the short film is worth a watch. Think of it as a five-minute meditation break in the middle of your busy weekend.
For those who are curious about how water was used as a lens, of course, the iPhone's lens was not removed; the film still used the iPhone rather conventionally as a camera. However, water placed within a small hole in the middle of a five-yen coin stays in place due to the water's surface tension (the same way it might hang on the bottom edge of a cup before falling to the floor after spilling over the lip). Naturally, the placement of the water is fragile in its housing and a bit of wind or too strong of a shake could jostle it loose, but another drop could be added in its place for the next scene as needed.
View more of Tomimatsu's work here.
[Via Spoon and Tomago]