The story of the poster – Erik Kessels at the TMP Conference 2022 in Denver
In 2017 I saw in a street near our Airbnb in Turin an exhibition by Erik Kessels. About photos. Photos?? I had decided that year to focus on photo organizing and just before our trip to Italy I had rented a place in a studio where I could hatch my plans. So I definitely wanted to see that exhibition – I was already a fan of Erik Kessels’ work as a creator of special marketing projects.
The exhibition (‘The many lives of Erik Kessels‘) turned out to contain everything that I had in mind as a photo organizer: collecting and selecting photos, searching, working out the stories behind photos, appreciating what Kessel calls ‘vernacular photos’ and ultimately doing something attractive and fun with the photos. The exhibition also featured Erik Kessels’ depiction of the chaos of photographs that are posted on the internet every day (’24hours’). He has turned his interest in vernacular (amateur) photographs into an artform. Everything was an inspiration for me. I bought the poster of the exhibition and that was the first thing that I hung on the wall in my studio in Leiden – and it still inspires me. Just like the photos that I took of the exhibition itself; I still use them in my PR communications (naturally I had asked the agency (KesselsKramer) for permission).
I started adding photo organizing to my business. Having followed several courses, I collaborate with fellow organizers (FON), I regularly give workshops, and I now have clients both in Netherlands and abroad. I have been since 2017 a member of The Photo Managers (TPM), a large community in the USA that takes photo organization to the next level, and where I acquire a lot of inspiration and know-how. I attended two virtual TPM conferences in 2020 and 2021 and I recently attended this year’s conference in Denver ‘in person’. During the virtual conference in 2021, I talked to a colleague, Isabelle Dervaux, another fan of Erik Kessels’ work, and we cooked up what we considered a very good idea – to get Erik Kessels to speak at the next conference.
I contacted his agency and Erik Kessels himself quickly replied – he also thought it would be a nice idea! After some conversations via Zoom, it became clear: he was to be the first keynote speaker of the conference in March 2022, in Denver. Via Zoom, but still.
That day, March 24th, was a beautiful and proud moment for me, together with Isabelle Dervaux, to announce Erik Kessels’ keynote speech. His presentation was wonderful. The room (with 120 photo organizers) responded with much appreciation and laughter, as in addition to being brilliant, his original way of looking at (amateur) photos is also funny.
In the days following the presentation, many photo organizers came up to me and thanked me for being instrumental in them getting to know Erik Kessels’ work.