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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