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February - Stefan Schipper.

Color can be seductive and soothing, it can be aggressive or agitating. Sometimes, choice of color comes down to attracting attention. And in photography - as in nature - you make use of the weapons you have. The right choice of color can make the difference between looking and seeing.

”Create your own style and forget the rules. But don’t be afraid to learn from other photographers.” This advice comes from the Dutch photographer Stefan Schipper, who at the young age of 31 has already earned a number of awards, including Holland’s ”Best Wedding Album 95” and the ”Kodak Gold Award” for four years in a row, 1995-98. In 1999, he published his book ”Sightings”, in which he presents, in his own special way, portraits of over 160 Dutch celebrities. The book, which was printed in 2,500 copies, quickly sold out. Schipper donated the money that the book generated to a school for deaf children, which his niece Elke attends. Schipper was impressed by the school’s professional methods of teaching deaf children to communicate with the world around them.


 One of the photographs that Schipper is particularly proud of is of the celebrity photographer Anton Corbijn.  Schipper is happy to be inspired by this world famous artist, but would never dream of copying his style. Corbijn’s often stark black and white or sepia toned photographs are a dramatic contrast to Schipper’s colorful, studio-produced work. The celebrity photographers have worked together on one occasion. ” I did a portrait of Anton, which is now included on the last page of my book Sightings. The most exciting assignment I have done,” says Schipper.

Taken with a Hasselblad 503CW, Zeiss Planar f 2.8/80 mm, 1/30 s, aperture f/ 5.6, professional light shade and Cokin soft filter, Kodak EPP slide film, development: color negative process C41 (Cross-technique)
 
Stefan Schipper has his studio in the small town of Vriezenveen.  He usually works with a Hasselblad (503CW and XPan), but sometimes with a Nikon camera as well. He does not prepare overly much for an assignment and is not governed by any specific principles or rules. ”Often I have no plan in place before meeting the person I am to photograph. I simply do whatever feels right at the time.”

Schipper will soon exhibit his photographs of ”The World Trade Center Before September 11th”. He is also working on his new book project and with international artists like Duran Duran, Mel C, and Metallica. ”Alive”, as his new book is titled, is expected to be finished in a couple of years. ”If it’s not finished, then I have at least enjoyed every minute that I have worked on it so far. You have to enjoy life. It’s short.”

Kerstin Fiedler