On Display is an overview of photographer Maurice Scheltens’s work over the past ten years. Scheltens earns his keep in the field of applied photography, but he also does quite a lot of non-commissioned work. This, of course, is not particularly uncommon, but what sets Scheltens apart is that there is virtually no difference in approach: the two merge seamlessly.
This is all the more evident here thanks to the book’s design. The photographs are printed on glossy paper and carefully laid out, with nothing but a folio to detract from them. Which photos were commissioned and which were not is made clear at the back of the book – the panel note that this is the year of the ‘end caption’, and are now inured to textless presentation.
The designers here have come up with the idea of using the pages literally as lightboxes on which the photos have
been laid and arranged. This produces an interesting play of grid and rhythm. Sometimes the pictures lie close together, elsewhere they are shifted slightly relative to each other. This means that the print area occasionally appears to move, which creates a certain tension.
Scheltens’s photos are still lifes of everyday objects. Never before have we seen such a view of shoes, chairs or perfume bottles, each one a brilliant, almost abstract sculpture. To a large extent this is also thanks to the styling by Liesbeth Abbenes.
The book’s format is agreeable and its soft cover and powerful typography give it an air of ruggedness. The designers have thought well about the presentation of Scheltens’s work, for which the book is indeed the perfect display.