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Useful Photography #001
Erik Kessels

Useful Photography #001
Erik Kessels

Edited by Hans Aarsman, Claudie de Cleen, Julian Germain, Erik Kessels and Hans van der Meer


60 pages
210 x 297 mm
ISBN 907272007704


Cut out a photograph from a wholesale butcher’s brochure, hang it over your bed, and a year later you still won’t be bored of it. It is precisely these photographs we are confronted with daily, without even being aware of it, that can hold our interest for an astonishingly long time. Photography from sales catalogues, instruction manuals, packaging, brochures and textbooks. Anonymous, because what photographer expects to create a furore with a chicken breast photo? As soon as the images are taken out of their original context and placed in a new one, they can produce interesting results. Useful Photography #001 is an Ode to the Photographers we don’t know by name, but whose work we all know by looking at it daily.

About the Artist 
Erik Kessels was born in 1966; he lives and works in Amsterdam. He has presented numerous exhibitions at Fotografia Europea in Reggio Emilia (2015), Centquatre-Paris (2014), Les Rencontres d’Arles (2014), the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (2013), Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco (2014–15) and the Images – Festival des Arts Visuels in Vevey (2014). He might not shoot pictures himself, but the Dutch art director and collector Erik Kessels has certainly changed the way we think about photography. As a curator of amateur photography, he’s elevated discarded images to gallery status, finding beauty and insight in pictures of, say, 20th century German police uniforms, or one woman’s lifelong love of fairground shooting galleries.

About the Contributors
Aarsman was born in 1951 in Amsterdam. He started his career as a photojournalist for the Dutch newspaper Trouw. In 1989 he published the book Hollandse Taferelen which consisted of landscapes photographed from the roof of a camper which he pulled through the Netherlands for a year. In 1990–1991 he finished a photo series of East German states.

Claudie de Cleen (the Netherlands 1968) works as an editorial illustrator and for commercial and autonomous projects since 2000. Texts and concepts are translated as clearly as possible, in idea as well as in finish, into image. Often shows life’s absurdity, with humor and compassion for the subject.

Julian Germain (London, 1962) became interested in photography at school. He went on to study it at Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham and the Royal College of Art in London. He has published several books, including In Soccer Wonderland (1994) and The Face of the Century (1999). His first book, Steel Works (1990), utilised a combination of his own photographs alongside historical images and pictures from various sources including family albums to examine the effects of the closure of Consett steelworks as well as broader issues of post industrialisation.

Erik Kessels is a Dutch artist, designer and curator with great interest in photography. Erik Kessels is since 1996 Creative Partner of communications agency KesselsKramer in Amsterdam and works for national and international clients.

Van der Meer was born in Leimuiden, the Netherlands in 1955. He studied photography at the MTS School for Photography; he then attended the National Academy for Visual Arts in Amsterdam, graduating in 1986. His work has been shown in galleries and institutions across the Netherlands, as well as in cities such as Frankfurt, Milan, and Beijing.  In his work he captures the rush of athletic competition, city life, and even the sweeping landscapes of the American West in his quiet, charged photographs.

About the Publisher
KesselsKramer is a company which aspires to do things differently in the field of communications. KesselsKramer Publishing is an extension of this restless attitude. In images and words, it finds new ways of expressing creativity through printed matter.

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