Willy Vanderperre's Collectible New Tome

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The revolutionary photographer reveals the concept behind his new Instagram-inspired book, 635, exclusively for AnOther

Willy Vanderperre is a photographer like no other. Lauded for his compelling, poetic and unflinchingly emotive images, the Belgian-born lensman has lent his talents to the worlds of high fashion, film, design and beauty for over fifteen years – shooting distinctive covers and cult fashion stories for publications including our very own Another Man, Dazed and AnOther, in addition to 032c, V and Self Service. He has also nurtured enduring collaborations with the equally prolific Raf Simons, Olivier Rizzo and Peter Phillips, whom he met while studying at the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the early 90s; the reputed avant garde establishment that gave way to The Antwerp Six and remains an epicentre of contemporary practice.  

Today, Vanderperre is set to unveil his latest endeavour at Dover Street Market New York – a slick, limited-edition book entitled 635, which was created in collaboration with the ever-innovative IDEA Books. Experimental and wonderfully immediate, the title was compiled and edited in just 10 days, and is a tangible translation of his entire Instagram feed, which runs in contrasting triptychs over 220 pages. In a rare moment of respite, on a hotline from Belgium, Vanderperre reveals the concept and creative process behind the tome. 

Talk us through the concept behind 635 and how the project came about... 
"It all happened about two and a half weeks ago. David [Owen] from IDEA books, phoned me while I was on holiday and asked me how I would feel about producing a super fast book, and of course, I was immediately interested. I loved the idea of creating a book that's edited, designed and printed in just 10 days, something that's virtually instant! I thought it was incredibly modern, and so now, a perfect reflection of our time. This led to the idea of printing my entire Instagram feed – from the first picture to the final image from my feed, number 635."

Talk us through your creative process...  
"We printed the book in order, nothing has been altered or changed, which was very liberating actually! Some of the images are even a little blurry because they're not of a high resolution, some have borders while others have filters. There's a real variety of techniques used and that's the magic of it."

We feel that book captures a definitive moment in time, would you agree? 
"Yes, absolutely. Especially since after the day we went to print, Instagram announced that they wouldn't be running their signature square-set format anymore! Which was a wonderful bonus, because we didn't know. Also, I haven't posted on my Instagram since, and that gave me a sense of closure. It felt more personal, like I had closed a chapter of time." 

Why did you decide to run the images in triptychs? 
"It felt more instinctual and I loved the idea of having a contrasting sequence of pictures. It's strange how sometimes they fight with each other, and then on the other hand they can totally enrich each other. It's illogical, but logical at the same time and completely spontaneous!"

How did you feel when you saw the book for the first time? 
"I must say I thought it was lovely, and I found the whole experience very liberating and fun, because there was absolutely no time to scrutinise over the placement of images, or adjust things, and go back and forth to the printers. It was all highly spontaneous. I hope everyone likes it as much as I do." 

635 by Willy Vanderperre is available in a limited-edition run from September 10th 2015, in store and online at Dover Street Market London and New York.