PROJECT LANDSCAPE – Interview with Gabi van Ingen

Tom van Oijen and photographer Gabi van Ingen are a couple from the Netherlands currently living the digital nomad life. They sold everything they had at home about ten months ago to live their dream and set up fashion shoots in the most beautiful landscapes of South America. They did this under the name PROJECT: LANDSCAPE.  Interview with the duo.

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Could you describe the idea behind project landscape?

We started two years ago with this concept of us working and travelling the world at the same time. I’m a photographer and Tom, my boyfriend, is a marketer, so why not work together on this and make our dream come true! I wanted to set up fashion shoots in the landscapes of south America because I travelled there before and I totally fell in love with their wide and desolated landscapes. We wrote a business plan, contacted brands and had lots of meetings. A year later we were able to realize our dream and we called it PROJECT: LANDSCAPE. 

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We did fashion shoots while working with other travelers as models, I did the styling, hair and make-up, photography and editing while Tom was doing the production and film. We travelled for a year doing commercial assignments and along the way I made a lot of new artwork as well. I love to combine landscapes with abstract layers to create a new landscape of my own. I loved doing that so much that now I want to focus more on my autonomous work as an artist. So we thought of PROJECT: LANDSCAPE 2.0, a project that contain ten artworks that are for sale. If you like my work and want to contribute you can buy it and from that money I will go travel again, so I can explore new landscapes and make new work.

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How did you guys meet?

We met in a bar and we fell in love, that is almost ten years ago! So Tom was there the whole time when times were rough at Art Academy. It was a though education but I’m happy that I pushed myself to continue. It taught me everything about art and myself.

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How is art a big part in your relationship?

I think that I showed Tom a different world, one that he wasn’t really paying attention to. Its not that he didn’t like art, he just wasn’t really aware of it. He always had my back during my academy years and we talked a lot about art and its history and future. I took him to different exhibitions, we watched movies, we went to museums, everything you can think of. He developed different ways of thinking and I love it that I can still show him new things. Of course within the years he learned a lot and he really developed an eye for images. He started filming as well and I have to say that he is doing a really good job. For PROJECT: LANDSCAPE 2.0 he is focusing on the commercial side of the project. I am so lucky to have my very own agent : )

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A lot of people dream of travelling the world doing what they love. What was the main trigger that got you ready to leave everything behind and follow this dream?

We thought it was such a cool plan so we just started with our idea and business plan. We talked with so many people about it and it just got more and more real. We were so enthusiastic about our concept and noticed that others were too. At one point you are planning everything and one week later you are looking for flights. We really really wanted to do this, so we did it. If you set your mind to it, you can achieve a lot.

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Why are landscapes a big part of your work, both in fashion and your personal projects?

I love wide and stretched out landscapes. They can be rocky or sandy, but I like them to be big and impressive. They can make you feel so small as a human being, and they make you realize that the world is an imposing place. I like to create a desolate feeling and in the photo itself show almost no human touch. Of course, this is different when you work in fashion, but I still like the landscape to play a big role in the shoot. If I have the perfect photo I’m not done with the image yet. I like to add abstract layers or I make one image out multiple photos. I create a new landscape in which I am looking for tension between what exists and what is made. So, in the end, I do want to show the interfering of a human being. I want the viewer to know that its a constructed image, that it’s made.

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What would be your top 2 destinations for the most beautiful landscapes you’ve seen so far?

My definitely number one are the deserts and dreamy colored lakes in Bolivia and Chile. They are close to each other and you can go with a jeep three or four days to see all the crazy beautiful landscapes there. They are so unique! Number two I have to say is Patagonia. Its far away from home, but its so worth it. Beautiful mountains and glaciers and you can do beautiful hikes there. My next destination is Iceland, I think it fits my photography perfectly and I can’t wait to go there!

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How would you describe the evolution between PROJECT: LANDSCAPE and PROJECT: LANDSCAPE 2.0, personally and artistically speaking?

For our first PROJECT: LANDSCAPE we really wanted to focus on fashion and give brands the opportunity to get a photo shoot at an awesome location for a regular price. They didn’t have to pay for flight tickets, stay or anything, just for the work itself. It was a big challenge and hard work to arrange everything on set with the two of us, but I learned so much during this year. It gave us a chance to work in the most beautiful places in the world and opened so many doors, so I am really thankful.

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I loved working in these landscapes so much that I made a lot of photos besides the fashion shoots. It was a welcoming change that I could work freely and think of images I wanted to create without the boundaries of commercial work. It’s so hard to earn money with your artwork but I have to give it a try, so that’s why we invented PROJECT: LANDSCAPE 2.0. It contains ten selected images that you can buy in a limited edition of five, for a very good price. By buying my photos you are making it possible for me to go travel again and make new work, so I really hope that people like my work and are interested in buying it. Besides that, I find it interesting to try and see what happens if we try to sell my artwork ourselves without the intervention of a gallery.

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Where can we buy those prints?

You can go to my website http://gabivaningen.com/projectlandscapeparttwo/ where you can see the selection of ten images that you can purchase. If you like what you see you can get in contact with us from there, just hit the ‘contact’ button and you can leave us a message. From there on we will get back to you and make sure you get the print you want!

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Finally, what’s next for you guys?

We are contacting a lot of companies to see if they are interested in buying my work. Besides that, I am working on a cool exhibition at Nhow hotel in Rotterdam for this September and we hope to go travel again soon! First Iceland, then maybe the West Coast of North America. We just keep on dreaming!

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