Photographer: Tom van Schelven c/o Making Pictures
With his ‘ART’ project ‘In Flight’, Tom van SCHELVEN c/o MAKING PICTURES is among the winners at the GoSeeAWARDS. Here on GoSee, MAKING PICTURES presents you the series produced in South Africa.
Tom van Schelven's striking new personal series ‘In Flight’ captures a troupe of acrobats backflipping over sand dunes and tumbling through the air in the desert. The project was produced in Cape Town by Nomad Productions. “I wasn’t trying to shoot them at the apex of the backflip, it was more the moment slightly before and slightly afterward, when not everything is perfect in terms of expression or movement.”
The series was also presented on Ignant : “Van Schelven had been toying with the idea of a shoot with acrobats, but it wasn’t until he came across the South African Circus School that the story ‘In Flight’ really materialized. While in Cape Town on an unrelated commission, he seized the opportunity to make his vision a reality. After searching for acrobats online, he discovered the SACS, and together they traveled 45 minutes north of the city to the natural sand dunes where they got to work. The resulting series is bursting with movement and play. Rather than photographing the acrobats most cinematic movements, van Schelven captured the moments before and after. This visual bookending of their tricks lends the series a playful edge; the acrobats are tumbling, falling, leaping and laughing – candidly enjoying themselves against the luminous sand and blue sky.”
On set, Tom van Schelven likes to create a fun, high-energy atmosphere with lots of noise, and movement. This vibrancy certainly transfers into his film and photography work which has an authentic, honest feel that differentiates it from the sort of cheesy lifestyle shoots you see elsewhere. Growing up, Tom split his time between Manchester and the Netherlands, and there’s a definite element of Dutch directness in his work. He likes to strip down commissions and find the simplest way of getting the message across. Whether he’s shooting surfers for The Wall Street Journal, top actors like Samuel L Jackson, or commercial campaigns for the likes of Virgin, Sony or Renault, Tom’s effervescent imagery stands out in a crowded field. Rather than studying photography, Tom instead chose on-the-job training as an assistant where he learned what he liked (a friendly, boisterous atmosphere) and what he didn’t (moody, staged and overly serious shoots). He revels in the collaborative nature of big commercial jobs – the high expectations and the pressure that comes with creating work that will be seen by millions of people.