“The specialty of Scheltens & Abbenes is to meticulously arrange objects” claims the biography of photography duo Maurice Scheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes. Working since 2002 as a duo, the minimalist compositions they painstakingly compose have earned them attention from clients and editors alike.
As part of the Hyères 2013 Fashion Jury, they answer the questions of the blog partners – Un Nouveau Ideal by Filep Motwary, *Fruitpunch by Sean Santiago, BRRUN by Bruno Capasso, Vogue.de, Malibongwe Tyilo and The Stimuleye, of course.
Liesbeth Abbenes. Photo by René Habermacher.
Filep Motwary: How does a garment get your attention? What are you searching for while on set?
Maurice ScheltensA sensitivity in material and design. Looking at a garment it often tells if the designer understands it’s own work without stopping to early (or to late) in the process. This attitude is connecting in the way we are also trying to stretch our own sensibilities.
Sean Santiago: Your work is striking in its simplicity and for its reductive qualities – is fashion more interesting to you in theory more often than in its execution?
We are more interested in what we see then in what we know or should know. After ‘building’ is the moment of truth. Our curiosity by testing an idea for it’s visual qualities is the driving force. That is also why we keep on searching, experimenting and checking during the shoot instead of making photographs from a sketch made on the drawing table. This doesn’t mean that thoughts or drawings as they are can be beautiful and interesting to. It’s a matter of where to put all these aspirations.
Maurice Scheltens by René Habermacher.
Antoine Asseraf: As jury members used to shooting Fashion as objects, can you abstract the mise en scene, the show, the person to judge only the garments ?
Actually we see the same struggle and solutions in the garments as we face while shooting fashion or any other object in front of the lens. Maybe it’s a healthy distance that we have looking at fashion because we’re not ‘over informed’. We’re responding to what we see with the same critical eye as we do in our own work.
Bruno Capasso: How do you work as a duo – do you have 2 distinct visions ?
Our collaboration has been growing over the past ten years. It’s an evolution in which we grow individually towards each other and makes it difficult to say what comes from who. Individual credits would be out of place. See it as a chess game in which one makes a move and the other responds onto it… on and on.