Sipke Visser first entered our lives last year, his book Return to Sender documenting an inspired personal photography project that was bred upon real-world emotion. October saw the London-based Dutch photographer launch a successful Kickstarter to fund his latest connection with the British psyche, Doggies. His four-legged project is now a second beautiful publication in collaboration with Dutch design studio Kummer and Herrman and, in the meantime, I was honoured to be asked to write its foreword:
I like both doggies, and the photography of Sipke Visser, very much. When I say doggies, I’m not talking about this book, but our four-legged friends, Britain’s national pet, a man’s best friend. Two months prior to the day Sipke asked me to write this foreword, I lost my beloved bulldog Macy – an emotional wrench that may come as a surprise to those who’ve never bonded with an animal, but one that Sipke manages to capture in his images with almost casual nonchalance.
The beauty of Sipke’s work is not in his technicality, nor in his composition – no matter how effortlessly they come to him – but in hauling those emotions into a stationary image. Sipke captures moments in time. It’s the true essence of photography, but few are gifted enough to snare sensitivity within a single click.
Introduced to me by a friend from his native Netherlands, Sipke’s first publication, Return to Sender, had quite an effect on me; using photography as a means of communication, provoking reaction, and forging fleeting relationships, here was an art form in its purest, most visceral form. It could be argued that Sipke’s work is less about the images themselves, more about their message, their stories. If that be so, Sipke Visser is one fine troubadour, a storyteller resplendent in verse, and here lies another great tale. A story of relationships, emotion, curiosities and national quirks. And chewed slippers.
Captured at Earls Court’s Discover Dogs show, a kind of odd trade show for hundreds of breeds, Sipke seizes comical situations, obscure details, fanciful obsessions, surprising tenderness and the occasionally surreal. Displaying a charming curiosity for an alien world, the photographs within this book exhibit an artist capable of exquisite storytelling, wry humour and artful observation. Enjoy.
Doggies is available now in an edition of 1,000, priced £20.