Anthony Mandler is currently music’s biggest and hottest film music director. Starting out as a photographer, Mandler focused on capturing societies biggest stars from David Beckham to the cast of Hollywood’s CSI; New York, majority of these portraits have been featured in publications like Mens Health, Vanity Fair and Esquire. His work is inspiring, beautiful and of great high quality, which works well in his industry, as he is able to be, groundbreaking enough but still be commercial.
Artists’ like Jay-Z, Eminem, Mary J Blige and Snoop Dogg all have had multiple videos shot by him and keep going back for more. His ability to conceive visual concepts through the words, lyrics, and emotions of the songs is what differentiates him from other directors. His passion draws in collaborators who are like minded, only a certain pedigree of rappers and singers hire Anthony for they know they won’t have to worry about their vision getting lost in technology.
His style is taken from a classic, pure and almost vintage place of inspiration, soft lighting, natural tones and colours contrast old, dark, broken down derelict locations. Even when he’s shooting in the studio his soft approach remains and is fused in with high gloss props and lighting putting his mark.
But what I LOVE most about Mr.Mandlers work is his signature trademark- what he cleverly manages to feature in most of his videos is, what I like to call the ‘digital blur’ (not sure what the film terminology for this is) , but it makes it look like the video could’ve been made in the 50’s but the blur gives the video an altered look compatible to be played in this decade.
Below are just a few of the many music videos he has filmed.
Drake - 'Over'
The concept of this video is amazing- I love the simplicity because one could just say that its Drake just sitting in a hotel room, but the projections give us an insight almost into Drakes mind state. My favorite scene is at the beginning, the projected image used (the clouds- representing a journey) when he says the lyric ‘far from over’ and also the use of fire when he says ‘over’, the fire in my opinion represents that he’s ever-blazing and his success won’t end. Also Mandler uses a lot of portrait shots in his videos a photographer’s trait.
Maxwell- Bad Habits.
Anthony’s excellent ability to tell a story is displayed here in this video, which happens to be one of my favorite songs done by one of my favorite artists’ from an amazing album! He captures the passion and darkness of the affair in a sumptuous and rich way that comes across in my favorite scene whereby Maxwell is with his lover played by the beautiful Kerry Washington. The darky musky red lighting and the mirrors unleash Maxwell’s bad habit and the signature ‘digital blur’ is shown here.
Ryan Leslie- Your not my girl
Another favorite artist and song of mine. I am really happy that some one as talented as Ryan but still sort of unknown (in some parts of the world) has had the opportunity to work with someone like Anthony. His work is groundbreaking and matches Ryan’s futuristic retro disco funk sound. With Mandler directing, Ryan differentiates himself out of the crowd, as some artists are good but their complete package (style/sound/videos etc) is not reflective of their talent. But with Ryan he thinks about everything about his brand and this video is top notch. Love the heavy duty metal piano and the girls in hats walking with Ryan at the end; very 80’s Robert Palmer and Gary Newman.
The Killers- When we were young
I really like this video- everything about it from its location, concept and wardrobe. My favorite scene is the wedding. Mandler has captured a sense of purity and it in turn blends in well with the lyrical emotion behind the song, as the young girl is heart-broken when she finds out that love/marriage isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
I love the chorography in this video; my favorite scene has to be the dancing silhouettes- very Michael Jackson esque. The styling of the girls in black jackets and lingerie is very Dolce & Gabbana AW10 exit.
Jay-Z. This truly is a kodak moment. Captured with perfect timing. The paper in the air looks like its raining fairy dust.
Black Eyed Peas
A typical use of Mandlers use of dusky, muted colours and soft lighting.
Only one word to describe the shot. Gangster.
The trend forecaster in me would take Beckham's tattoo and the boxing bag and his check tank and create a denim like printed fabric and entitle it ' Black ink'.
Videos courtesy of youtube.com