SHAMS, digital rolling stone

Papa was a rolling stone, great hit of the seventies, says « Wherever he laid his hat was his home”. Shams was not born at this time but he also chose to move where the wind, the encounters and his desires take him.

Today, Shams is a film director, specialized in adventure and extremes sports, self-sustaining and full time traveler. The perfect definition of a Digital Nomad. Younger, he preferred yomping with his buddies and early tried climbing, paragliding and freefall. His passion for cinema and image started at an early age but “In that time, Internet was not what it is today and we did not really know how to train.” After a few films about freefall with friends, he had to wait the mid-2000s to get efficient and affordable equipment. Reluctant to sedentary job, he pursued studies until thesis but before the final test “I broke, I was losing my time”. In 2010, he quits his PhD in computer graphics for a great leap into the void!

Becoming an independent cinematographer is not so easy but, persevering, Shams takes almost one year to find his place. Several little personal projects, a first job for a mountain guide and a successful video featuring a friend paraglider… An equipment brand contacts him. He admits that finding alone significant customers is difficult but you will see that he really spread his wings.

[ Growing while keeping a child’s soul ] 

Still found of adventure, mountain and glide, he follows sportive events and gets a few awards like Best Cinematography at the Chamonix Adventure Festival in 2014 or Winner of the Mountain Film Festival in 2019. Over the projects, Shams has professional meetings and reinforces friendships. Being independent and always moving doesn’t mean you don’t need others, quite the contrary! In a professional area where feeding agendas is quite difficult, gathering expertise and being able to share projects with trusted persons is an asset. Shams thought about creating a collective of professionals, the Big Kids Cartel. Director, sound engineer, camera operator, editor, photographer, drone pilot, gimbal helicopter operator, aerial and underwater cinematographer are their specialties. Their common point: they like discovering, filming and being outdoor! Their motto “The creative adult is the child who has survived.”

Surfing into Shams friend’s club like leafing through a picture book, we understand the diversity of their work, from advertising for famous luxury brands to TV series and magical documentaries full of adrenalin. In love with great outdoors, we bet that you will get swept up in “Sounds of paragliding”, a multi awarded documentary. Together or individually, those 11 pros have a wonderful journey.

[ Van life, free as the wind… ]

Shams (Sun in Persian) is not a screen name but his third first-name, inherited from his father born in a train between India and a land that would become Pakistan. An omen? Growing in France, the young man chose to live as a Digital Nomad in 2018. Not for doing a world tour, no. His plan is that there is no plan. A comfortable camper van, equipped for working and long travel.

“I first left to Norway for two months… and I never came back.”

Since, he crossed the most remote corners of Europe, explored Turkey and joined Nepal, India, Pakistan. He has no geographical limits, no return date. His other motto: I haven’t been everywhere but it is on my list. Untold scenes he crossed, the power of encounters evoked in a few words or photos and a film project in Pakistan, land of family origins that he knows so little, here are his motivations. When we talk about the versatility required by this way of living, steady adjustments to uncertainties of the trip, he says:

“I am free, I stop where I want. No need to go far. Moving, exploring, discovering helps to take a step back.”

[ … Well almost! ]

With a touch of irony, the epidemic chaos we meet led him to cross France where he is confined… in an apartment! He compares this temporary isolation with ten days stuck in his van under an unceasing rainfall and (if you are still reading, you guessed), he relativizes. For Shams, coming back to a settled life would be hard.

“Some things will change during the next months. We are so conditioned by school and work. It is difficult to change our life, to understand that there are different ways of living, other priorities.”

Perhaps, a Digital Nomad could humbly contribute to this awareness?

More photos on his Instagram

Travel with Shams on advanturouslife

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