Self-taught director and photographer Yoni Lappin's aesthetic embraces youthful naiveté in both its content and its execution. Most recently, he captured the essence of what it is to be young and carefree in urban London in a three-part video series created for 21-year-old electronic artist Alex Crosson, better known by stage name Mura Masa.
His artistic journey wasn’t the most conventional. “I did politics at university because I didn’t have the balls to go straight into film,” he says.
Nevertheless, he was keen to pursue his passion; he learned the tricks of the trade while interning for film and music video director Saam Farahmand. “He’s a true artist and that was really fun to watch. It was cool to see someone not thinking about whether he should or shouldn’t be doing something. He just did it instinctively.”
After graduation, he landed a job at a record label. When revealing his aspirations to work in narrative film to his boss, he was given a shot to merge his two passions, music and film. Armed with the company’s 7D camera, he set out to create promotional media for the label, and although he was just learning how to use a camera, he felt he “could wing it a bit.”
“I was always drawn to getting into directing through music because I had an obsession with it.”
It was thanks to this same boss he ended up working with Mura Masa on the visuals for What if I go? It would be the start of a longer collaboration, one that evolved into a friendship based on mutual appreciation.
“I feel like I get him and he gets me, and there’s this sharing of ideas, where we don’t even need to talk about it much anymore. I trust him to make good music and I hope he trusts me to make good videos.”
Yoni stresses how important it is to have this kind of connection when creating new work. “It’s impossible to come up with an idea that’s outside the box when you’re sticking to the same formula and people at a label are telling you what it needs to be.”
The resulting videos are each unique in their approach. “Every video is an experiment and I’m trying to do something different,” Yoni says.
The first of the three, What if I go, shot in a square 1:1 aspect ratio, chronicles the romantic and lonesome escapades of young people as they explore London. Shot in a widescreen cinematic standard 2.35:1, Love$ick takes a more narrative approach, following the misadventures of a group of young boys over the course of a day. The most recent, 1 Night continues in the vein of the previous two, presenting a group of young London teenage couples, seemingly taking the first exciting steps into new relationships.
Yoni sees these three as a trilogy about love, on the one hand optimistic and on the other melancholy. “I think it sums up young people who are figuring out relationships today. There’s something very uncertain about how committed we can be (now more than ever) and it runs through Alex’s music. It’s as though we feel guilty to be in love but at the same time, we really want to be in love. I feel like that’s what the music is about.”