The photographer and AnOther contributor reveals three new publications: 865, 485 REMIXED, and 1500. Here, he walks us through them
It almost goes without saying that Willy Vanderperre is one of the pre-eminent fashion photographers of his generation. Hailing from Belgium, he has established a 20-year body of work that spans campaigns for Prada, Raf Simons, Calvin Klein and Christian Dior, among others, and magazines including Dazed, AnOther and Another Man – in the last year alone, he’s photographed Lupita N’yongo for the S/S19 cover of AnOther and Ben Whishaw for the A/W18 cover of Another Man. Inspired by youth culture, and by the Flemish masters he grew up around in Belgium, his photographs possess a poetry, a melancholy and a profound beauty.
Vanderperre has several publications to his name but today, exclusively on AnOthermag.com, he reveals a new book. Or rather, a new batch of books – three in total – from everyone’s favourite publisher, IDEA. Titled 865, 485 REMIXED, and 1500, these new books come in the wake of Vanderperre’s 2015 tome 635, which comprised every single image he’d ever posted on Instagram up until the moment of publication.
“865 is the second of the Instagram trilogy book series, picking up where the first one left off. From the 636th post on the @willyvanderperre account to the 1500th – the last post before I launched the @wvwillyvanderperre account,” he explains over email.
This includes his work for Prada et al and his images for AnOther and Another Man, as well as more personal posts too: images celebrating Belgium’s sporting accomplishments, for example, and mourning the loss of celebrities – or, more recently, the tragedy of the Notre Dame fire. IDEA describe it as a “historic document”.
“I try to mix it up,” Vanderperre says of his approach to Instagram, which differs from that of some of his photographic contemporaries, who solely post images of their work. “I like to invite people in sharing some of my fields of interest. I try not to be too private, some images I feel are not for sharing, too personal in a way and I don’t have the urge to share everything.”
865, which launches with a book signing on May 3rd at Dover Street Market New York, as part of the store’s annual Arts Week Open House, comes with 485 REMIXED – a zine devoted to the photographer’s fan art; images inspired by Vanderperre’s work and posted to Instagram, by some 200 artists. 485 REMIXED, says the photographer “is a ‘thank you’ to the people who rework the work.” “I am always thrilled and flattered when I see the post,” he says. “Some of the works are sublime.” As for 1500, this is 635 and 865 combined – it is printed in an edition of 50, bound in white cloth and comes with a print (see: bottom image).
That Instagram has inspired another book – or trilogy of books – is another demonstration of the app’s overwhelming impact on not just fashion but culture itself. It’s also a demonstration of Vanderperre’s modern approach to photography, that he embraces the platform, instead of resisting it. “The gram has changed a lot since 635,” he says. “It is more about product and self-promotion [now]. It’s still relevant, though maybe more in a business way. The youth of it has faded. The products promoted are by big brands, even the Instagram shop page is difficult to achieve. With the new @wvwillyvanderperre account we use the platform for what, in my eyes, it stands for: a selling platform. On Fridays, we present collectable items in an edition of 25. This is a project that we will work on for a year.”
As for his hope for these books, Vanderperre says he wishes to “show the beauty of the Instagram platform, which is a testament to the times”. “This gives an insight to my life over the span of a couple of years. From work, to personal stuff,” he continues. “Also to stop and take time to look. The posts, the remixed work, they are so quickly swiped away. It is of course the core of the platform but to physically hold something in your hand, to touch the paper, is a sensation we sometimes forget. Time. Paper. Looking.” As IDEA says, it’s a historic document – as well as a beautiful and highly collectible publication.