Tahno and Jessica DeBurr, lovers and creators at the helm of two innovative projects, Raw Almond and Elephants & Almonds … this is their journey and story.
Take us on your journey. How did you both meet and come to call Port Macquarie home?
Jess and I met during my first visit to Australia back in 2011. We kept in touch and gave the long distance relationship a try. Many back and forth trips later, including a few stops in Europe, we got engaged in Paris and just last year we decided to make Jess’ hometown of Port Macquarie our springboard to whatever’s next.
Introduce us to both Elephants&Almonds and Raw Almond; what do both offer, and what roles do each of you play?
Elephants&Almonds is essentially a lone-venture cinematography project that’s always in the making. It started nearly five years ago, and the whole idea was to blend minimalism, simplicity, and linear abstraction to complex issues. In the creative process I found that I wanted to take E&A down a more journalistic path while holding on to the same values and ideas – covering interesting and perhaps controversial subjects in a bit of an artistic way.
Besides that, I still do side projects such as business advertisements, interviews, and so forth.
Raw Almond, on the other hand, is a business that strictly encompasses everything wedding related, including wedding films, and love-letter hire. My style of filming and editing weddings is a bit deconstructed and different, and it’s not for everybody, but it’s a style that comes naturally. It generally hones in on the funny, romantic, and otherwise unnoticed moments in between.
Jessica focuses on the logistics that go into running a business, because as fun as filming weddings are, at the end of the day there’s always a bit of paperwork to take care of. Her artistic talent as a painter also goes hand in hand with her genuine ability as a decorator and event organiser, in the sense that she’s not only able to make something look good, but have it run smoothly as well.
Tahno, when was your passion for creating videos born, and how have you progressed your skill set to where you are today?
As a kid, I had a real talent for drawing. My mother even sent me to art classes taught by my great-uncle, who ran a studio behind a performance theatre, but I simply lost interest as the years went on. I never lost my passion for creating though. It was fascinating to me how a single line on paper could turn into something amazing.
When I was a teenager, I began experimenting with video editing software. I became interested in creating again. That single line on paper was replaced by the first frame in my video editor. Coincidentally, I also started taking a keen interest in music and French cinema, specifically in how they both evoked a lot of thought, emotion, and perspective; I wanted to replicate that.
Later, when I was traveling the world as a flight attendant, I would often do so alone – intentionally getting lost in big cities, listening to music on my headphones, recording everything I saw.
When I would periodically put all the clips together, I’d edit the video in a way that portrayed how I felt when I was there. Always experimenting! It was my way of reaching out to people back home, with music. Even today, music is one of the most essential components of what I do.
I didn’t go to film school, but I love the art so much that I literally spend hours on end researching every bit of information I can get my hands on.
Jess, can you please give us some insight into your artistic background?
I paint at home, which I’ve been doing a lot more of lately. My paintings are usually colourful abstracts with loose brushstrokes and heavy paint. I really like the works of Van Gogh and Monet – their Impressionist style has influenced the way I paint. I also really like Frida Kahlo’s self portraiture, her choice of subjects and execution of them.
I studied art in high school and as part of my elective studies until Year 12. Somewhere along the line, my love of colour and design expanded to planning, decorating and making things. At work I was planning events and celebrations, and at home I was planning and designing our entire wedding. I get an enormous amount of excitement over planning every little detail.
Tahno, you’ve worked with some of our best local creatives, giving their work life through short films – what do you enjoy most about this process, and who have you worked with?
It’s always amazing that no matter where you go in the world, from metropolises to small towns, there’s always someone that doesn’t quite fit the mould. Those are the people I’m looking for. Once I find someone who’s daring to be different, I get in touch. It’s incredible when someone opens up their creative mind, and lets you in.
While producing my series, Local Creative, I realised that it’s not necessarily about where you are – it’s what you do while you’re there.
So far I’ve worked with local visual artists (and legends) such as Sigh, Adam Murray, Chris Bradley, as well as Louise Turner, and past blow-in, Grizzle. At the moment I’ve turned my attention to a few musical artists that have a lot to offer the local scene.
Tahno, your short films have received some accolades internationally …
Yeah. With the help of a former client, I had one of my shorts screened at a contest in Atlanta, Georgia. When it won, I didn’t really know what to do or say, but it sort of solidified my decision to pursue film. My short went on to be screened at the Atlanta Film Festival.
Where can we go to find out more and get in contact?