In Love, with Carroll Keane

16 January, 2017

Our last artist in residence for 2016’s Summer of Love at Mermaid Ranch was director Carroll Keane. During his residency, he wrote a poem to accompany “We Are One,” a short film he’d previously directed. We caught up with Carroll after his residency to learn a little more about his work. You can watch his film and read our interview with him below.

How would define your work & approach?

As a creative, my first function is wondering over, observing, and pondering this beautiful life and world, and my second function is trying to document or capture it to share it with others.

How did you hear about the Mermaid Ranch Residency?

I met Richard Christiansen in Los Angeles on an Old Navy commercial and struck up an “on-set friendship.” We kept up with each other via Instagram and when I saw this amazing opportunity for the residency, I jumped all over it.

How did the idea for this film come across? What were you interested in exploring?

The theme of the summer residency was Summer of Love. My theory was that almost all of us have seen lust in the eyes of someone in our lives, but few of us have really seen true love. Lust asks, “What can you do for me?” Love asks, “What can I do for you.” Love is self-centered, selfless. I married the love of my life this year and was interested in the challenge of capturing love both visually and emotionally. What does it look like to look into the eyes of someone who loves you completely and forever? What does it sound like to listen to their heart, their fears and hopes?

“Lust asks, ‘What can you do for me?’ Love asks, “What can I do for you?’”

How and where did you shoot it?

We shot the visuals in the third floor of our home in Nashville, with a small crew. The spoken poem was written at Mermaid Ranch.

How did you feel afterwards? How did this short film affect your life?

I felt the usual vulnerability hangover. It’s scary to let a camera into your eyes and even scarier to write a poem about the fears and joys of love. It was an emotional experience recording both the visuals and the poem with my wife. It deepened our relationship, and we both saw each other differently, more fully, afterwards.

What do you think you’ve learned (or most appreciated) at Mermaid Ranch?

My favorite thing is discovering a place in this world that brightens your life just because it exists. You visit there and it makes your life better, and continues to make your life better because no matter what happens to you or that place, it will always exist in the same way in your mind, and it’s changed you irrevocably. Mermaid Ranch is one of those places. When you walk in at first you hardly want to breathe. You want to become part of it, but in the end you make it a part of you. It really is special and I can’t say enough about it. It’s a bit like Hemingway’s Paris from A Moveable Feast. I don’t know if everyone experiences Mermaid Ranch the way I did, but that doesn’t matter. I hope to be able to come back again, but even if I don’t, I’ll always remember it.

Words by The Editors. Film by Carroll Keane.

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