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The lady of the lake, fountain, river...

Advertising, Books, Photography

Posted by Creative Review, 22 October 2012, 13:18    Permalink    Comments (15)

Like many husbands, Fred enjoys taking pictures of his wife Valerie. As long as she's fully clothed and wet. Erik Kessels' latest In Almost Every Picture photography book tells the story of a bizarre yet touching obsession

Fred and Valerie is number 11 in Kessels' long-running series of books of found photography. Originally, Kessels (co-founder of the KesselsKramer ad agency in Amsterdam) would discover the material for his books by hunting through piles of annuals at flea markets but, as he revealed at the Typo London conference on Friday, he found his latest subject online.



Fred Clark began taking pictures of his wife in various aquatic locations in 1984. The book features Valerie in all manner of watery places, from lakes to fountains, although most of the shots were taken in the couple's pool at their Florida home. In almost every shot, Valerie is fully and impeccably dressed.


Sometimes she is almost completely submerged, or floating on her back (as in the shot above which recals MIllais's painting Ophelia). In others, she stands just calf or waist-deep.


Fred explains the rules: "A good part of the wet clothes adventure concept for us is the mental turn-on of taking a nice outfit into the water. Often, the more classy the outfit, the better! We love the watch, earrings, pendants, and jewelry in general, going in. Sensuous, erotic stuff. Nice hair-do, make-up, shoes, nylons, and sometimes a purse. We have both dressed to the max to do this. Then there is the simple point of view that if you feel like going into the water, or getting wet somehow, why stop and change into an official bathing suit? That is an extra step, and may break the mood, spontaneous or not. And wearing a bathing suit under your clothes is cheating."


Even the colder weather fails to deter the intrepid Valerie

To publicise the book, Kessels produced a special waterproof version printed on plastic which he asked the couple to feature in a photograph.

In Almost Every Picture #11: Fred and Valerie, edited and designed by Erik Kessels, is published by KesselsKramer Publishing. Details here

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The most bizarre and uncomfortable series of photos I've seen for a while. Reminds me of something Cindy Sherman would do.
2012-10-22 14:15:27

Do you know if he will be releasing prints of these?
2012-10-22 14:17:05

There's a time and a place...and this, CR, is neither.
2012-10-22 14:46:26

One of the best moments at Typo London 2012 !
Joana Nogueira
2012-10-22 15:03:16

love you Erik x
2012-10-22 15:07:16

Emperors new 'wet' clothes ... vacuous.
tim sinclair
2012-10-22 15:58:18

2012-10-22 16:01:09

the waterproof version is a nice little idea. the rest.... why? oh, kessels claims it and puts it in a book, so it must be brilliant
2012-10-22 17:28:30

spot on, John!
tim sinclair
2012-10-22 18:09:17

@ John

Despite the sarkiness of your comment, you've (perhaps unwittingly) summarised what makes the In Every Picture series work. The actual images in most of the books in the series are banal, it's when they are re-presented in book form and the stories behind them revealed, that they become fascinating. If you don't know them, you might like to check out the other books in the series and Kessels' Useful Photography series or read Rick Poynor's piece from our Feb 2008 issue
CR PatrickBurgoyne
2012-10-22 18:16:00

Great book, I can't wait for the movie.
2012-10-23 02:45:33

This is rubbish!
2012-10-23 09:11:34

I went to Eric's talk at the KK outlet. The Lady of the Lake is another humorous edition to the In almost Every Picture series. Particularly the email exchanges between Fred and himself which i believe may be in the back of the book? Though it doesn't surprise me it's not to everyones taste, i think the stories he teases out of a random and often long forgotten collection of photo's is to be admired.
2012-10-23 14:38:46

Graphic Design Harrogate
2012-10-23 15:46:16

Excellent headline from the CR team though, this is mint!
Graphic Design Harrogate
2012-10-23 15:47:43

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