Life & Culture

Willy Vanderperre on His Standout Show

The Belgian photographer discusses his ‘prints, film, posters and more’ exhibition and his shoot for the upcoming S/S18 issue of Another Man

Willy Vanderperre is a romantic. The Belgian photographer’s work is beautiful, yes, but it does more than please the eye – it stirs the heart. And that’s entirely his aim.

Store X at 180 The Strand is currently playing host to an exhibition of Vanderperre’s evocative work titled prints, film, posters and more.

This show features a range of images from the photographer’s arsenal: old, new and even unpublished – from his portrait of Robbie Snelders printed in Raf Simons and Francesco Bonami’s 2003 book The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes, to his portrayal of Clement Chabernaud in a Caravaggio-esque restaging of the Crucifixion of Jesus. It features fashion work – including his image of Kate Moss for the A/W14 issue of AnOther, and his image of a man with his hand on his crotch, styled by Alister Mackie, for the upcoming S/S18 issue of Another Man – and personal work, too, such as the skateboard he made for his friend and collaborator, Raf Simons.

Vanderperre insists that the exhibition isn’t a retrospective, though, instead explaining that he wants it to be an “experience”. Here, speaking in his own words, Vanderperre tells us more about this sublime show and how it reflects his raison d’etre as an image-maker.

“I wanted to avoid something that was just a photographic show. I wanted to make it an experience.

“When you come in, it feels like you’re going to a gig. It’s dimly lit, everything is covered in black cloth, there is merchandising, or collectables, as I call them. I wanted to try and create a sense of anticipation. Then you open the door and find yourself in this amazing white space, and you see the pictures.

“We knew it was going to be a continuation of the New York show [staged at Red Hook Labs in 2016]. This one was more linked to London and my experience of the city, though. There is something very beautiful about the culture that you have here. For me, it was important to show work that hasn’t been published yet; to mix new work with old work, to create conversations between images.

“My favourite image is the one from the Another Man shoot that hasn’t been published yet – the guy with his hand on his crotch, because that’s the image of the show. Or, if I’m in a nostalgic mood, it would be a picture of Robbie [Snelders].

“The Another Man shoot was based around the two characters that we had in the studio. We approached them in a very intimate way. Intimate is the word; very close to the person, not pulled away, very detailed in the shots. I am very excited about that shoot.

“At the end of the day, I wanted to evoke a feeling in people, an emotion. I want them to walk out having felt something, or experienced something. For them to have been moved or touched. That’s something I’ve always wanted to achieve – to touch people.”

prints, film, posters and more runs at the Store X, 180 the Strand, London, WC2R 1EA until March 17, 2018.