Growing up, Tom van Schelven 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 Nike, Sony or Renault, Tom’s effervescent imagery stands out in a crowded field.
His ‘In Flight’ series is an example of Tom’s love for those candid moments between subject and lens. The project shows a group of acrobats in the desert, backflipping over sand dunes and tumbling through the air against a backdrop of brilliant blue skies. “When I’m shooting movement, there’s a lot of interesting bits I can photograph without directing,” he says. A lot of the frames weren’t shot at the moment you might expect. “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.”