A year ago, I had the pleasure of assisting Director Jesse R. Borrell as he worked with yogi master Ty Landrum. The video, “Chasing the Sun, Ashtanga Vinyasa” has just been released.
That chilly afternoon in Boulder, we walked out onto Mountain Park Open Space and perched on a hilltop beside a pond. The sounds of human activity were all around us – airplanes crisscrossing overhead; a backhoe beeped its warning over and over as it moved forward/backward working a nearby mulch pile; below us, a skateboarder flew by on a winding path; above us, geese squawked gracing the sky in wide arcs.
Moving with Purpose.
The meaning and intention of this video and practice were to move beyond the comfort and familiarity of the studio. Here is Ty, out in the world, inviting the viewer to come closer, to experience the embrace and abandonment of physical and psychical boundaries. And here is Jesse, up very close, capturing the intensity of Ty’s practice; and in turn, me, photographing Jesse doing what he does so well.
As Director/ Videographer/ Editor, Jesse sought to keep the shoot simple and real, one camera, one flowing shoot, including all of the natural sounds. Thus, in midst of everything going on around us, the poses lead to an experience of inner quiet – a way out of the present moment, by reaching inward.
One Take. Timing is Everything.
We tramped out to our location watching the shifting sky. As the sun started to fall, clouds moved in and the light changed. Time to move! Sunset at 4:30. It was brisk, and as the sun started to dip, the temperature dropped even more. Hikers with their dogs looped the trail below bundled up in hats, coats, gloves.
Ty slipped quietly away, sprinting a length of the trail, shifting his body and mind into an internal dynamic state. When he returned, he stripped down layer by layer and stepped to the mat, his focus moving inward and up.
chasing the sun!
Jesse, watching the light shift, adjusted accordingly, metering sample captures. I am nearby, but out of camera range, holding reflectors to bounce light onto Ty’s torso. Quietly shifting my position and camera, I capture Jess in his behind-the-scenes action.
Later on in final production, Jesse interwove fading sunlight, muscles rippling, mirrored pond reflection. Listen carefully for the constant, faint, murmur of breath and pulse surging through Ty’s body. Jess returned to the location another day with his drone to shoot the broad landscape. He joined Ty’s family to retrace their steps yet another day, to add deeper context to Ty’s soliloquy.
“As the world spirals into darkness, so do our individual minds. But we can spark the most brilliant revolution by turning our attention inward to the things that matter most. We gradually become whatever we contemplate most intensely…”
How fortunate am I?
As you may have realized, I feel the fascination and honor of being present, lending silent strength to artistry-in-action. Both of these talented men pulse with creativity! Ty’s grace and intention merge with Jesse’s technical expertise and artistry. No hesitation, just flow.
How does a filmmaker tell a story? An idea is formed through discussion, exploration, preparation, and it builds momentum. Conception leads to action, moving dynamically. The setting, the sounds, the trust between the subject and videographer. The final artful editing adds layers of subtle meaning, reaches a climax, then resolution.
The planes groan on above, the backhoe insists, the geese don’t care. Ty moves fluidly, spontaneously – even chuckling amid pose saying, “I don’t know where that came from!”
Jesse anticipates – flowing in and out, gracefully, fluidly, with a hand-held camera. A rich focus has descended and enfolds us as a dance of intention emerges.
“Our minds become saturated with wonder, the world appears sublime – an infinite revelry in the spontaneous, ecstatic unfoldment of the creative forces of life.”
– Ty Landrum