Walking around the atelier of Jasper Abels - just down the road from the Coulisse headquarters in Enter - you see why this photographer is recognized worldwide as a creative genius. From the Rituals 'Art of soulful Living' book to the new music video for Ilse de Lange and a Chanel photoshoot to the No Hero Museum exhibition in Delden - his talent is endless.
Born in Tubbergen in 1987, Jasper has always had an interest in photography. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, he has been living and working in Twente and Paris over the years and is a true master in the craft of photography and visual art. Not forgetting his graphic designing, craftwork and video making. This is a man of many talents with his work displayed in publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, ELLE and Glamour.
What inspires Jasper the most? As he puts it, “I believe in karma - giving out and getting things back. Creating from love and respect. I have a lot of crystals at the atelier and at home, as it keeps my mind open with a positive energy. It's a way of life.” It is not just this spiritual way of life that inspires Jasper, as he reveals, “I also love the masters such as Vermeer, van Gogh and Rembrandt. That’s why you see a lot of reference to the girl with the pearl earring and traditional style portraits in my collection. But then I always put my own stamp on each piece. That’s why I include nature, butterflies, birds, crystals and moons in my work. The butterflies are particularly becoming my signature.”
Jasper has had dramatic life experiences, which can be seen throughout many pieces of his work. He discloses, “With the passing of my sister and brother, the topic of mental health is very important to me. My work has been my therapy to grieve, and I hope that I can help inspire others in the future by always seeing light after a dark period.” A lot of pieces have this contrast – dark and bright, negative and positive, melancholy and happiness. He aspires to create thought-provoking pieces that engage his audience and have real meaning.
Whether it’s a provocative or uplifting piece, Jasper always likes to have nature as a running theme. He explains, “I love working with nature, color and natural surroundings. You can see this in my recent collaboration with Coulisse for the Living Beauty campaign, which was shot in the Reggedal nature reserve.” He discloses, “What started as a project to shoot six images turned into a year-long project of capturing hundreds of beautiful images of the flora and fauna of this nature reserve.” Of course, the highlight of this was the photoshoot of the latest collection of window coverings fabrics, which has been showcased in a new light. This collaboration is a perfect fit. Coulisse wanted to show that window coverings are more than just a product and Jasper turned this into reality. Transforming window coverings to the level of high-end couture.
With such a strong fashion background including collaborations with Chanel, Dior, Schiaparelli and Miu Miu, why would Jasper choose to work with a window covering brand in the small village of Enter? Jasper explains, “Coulisse has always had a vision. When I first met Christiaan and Maurice Roetgering, I could immediately see that they were humble and visionary for their time. Coulisse has exquisite taste. This is evident in everything they do - from the look of the brand to the new showroom. Not a lot of companies go to this level. In fact, you could say that Coulisse is the Chanel of its industry.”
How did it all begin? Jasper explains, “I began working with Coulisse about eight years ago when I was commissioned to make a video for their R&T fair, which featured the Coulisse fabrics in a fresh and unique way. From the offset, I have enjoyed working with the company. I love it when a company is more down-to-earth and gives me the freedom and time to feel inspired and make things my own.” He adds, “I also think it is important for Coulisse to be involved in the process and feel connected.”
Jasper divulges, “I am always on the lookout for a new muse. In fact, casting is my forte. Sometimes I'm walking along the street and suddenly see a face that stops me in my tracks. My models are always angels with an androgynous look. I choose for a natural beauty that doesn't overpower and draw your attention away from the product.” Jasper has changed a lot of lives over the years. He retells, “It’s especially rewarding when I receive a letter from a parent saying that I've really changed their son or daughter's life for the better.” Jasper goes on, “Fashion photography is such a hard business for models. It can be really cruel, but I like to think that I'm positive and considerate in my work. I always want my models to feel relaxed, comfortable and have fun.” Looking at one of his photos of a girl with a pearl earring, Jasper fondly remembers, “My model arrived for this photoshoot wearing a wig, as she had lost her hair and eyebrows to an autoimmune disorder. Fortunately, she felt comfortable enough to take her wig off and do a photoshoot for the first time celebrating her baldness. It was a really touching moment that I will remember forever.”
Jasper is always thinking of the next exciting venture. Jasper reveals, “I’m going to be leaving my atelier in Goor in November and plan to travel around Brazil for three months. Enjoying some time off and working on a new project.” The next project will be photographing birds in the wild with the idea to create a new book of bird portraits. After which, Jasper has an abundance of plans, “Of course, I would love to work with Coulisse again in the future. We will see what the future will bring. I would also love it if I could have a glasshouse atelier in the middle of nature where I could feel inspired and help to inspire others.” But Jasper does not stop there. He concludes, “And one of my biggest dreams of all is to one day direct a movie incorporating all the best elements of my work so far. I won’t reveal too much, but I'm thinking along the lines of a beautiful fairy tale set in this region of Twente. Watch this space... “