dolph kessler topographic observations

Dolph Kessler (Amsterdam, 1950) travels around the world and photographs in a tradition that is designated as 'New Topographics'. He is fascinated by landscapes where the influence of humans is clearly visible, from a modern German port city on the North Sea coast to an abandoned recreation site on the Ijsselmeer, and seeks out commonplace things that make these places unique. In addition, he is drawn to pristine nature, such as a snowy hill-edge or the dynamics of a waterfall. Dolph Kessler shows the places he has visited in the last ten years in three photo series.

north sea

Photos Kessler took during his trip around the North Sea show how people living on the coasts around the same sea co-exist with the water in different ways. The Dutch and Belgian coasts are characterised by beaches strewn with sun worshippers; in Germany Kessler photographed rocky industrial areas, in Denmark fishing boats, and on the Scottish coast abandoned buildings. Everyone uses the landscape in a different way.

Detail van een van zijn werken

pristine nature

The second series of photographs at the exhibition is without any trace of human life. In here, Kessler refers to nature itself: water, snow or a dense forest, with a keen eye for the structures he encounters in nature. Besides, looking at the photographs, one can hardly see where they were taken. This selection is seemingly about random cut-outs of nature and the fascinating structures they are showing. By focusing on details, the essence of the whole is better understood. 

Friesland, the smallest country on earth

Kessler travels around the world for his photographs, but he is also inspired by his own living environment. The third series of photographs: Friesland, the smallest country on earth is the result of a road trip that lasted many years. Kessler's photographs describe various subjects. They show how he looks at his own environment as a small-scale geographic ecosystem. Dolph Kessler used the photos of this road trip to make a photo book. This book, Friesland, the smallest country on earth, will be sold by the museum store.

Detail van het werk

experiences from the landscape

Kessler also uses films to show his experiences with the landscape. Films that are shown were shot from a boat in Polynesia and from the shores of Disko Bay in Greenland. Kessler's approach to film is like his approach to photography: the camera is fixed in one place and the environment does all the work.

dolph kessler

Dolph Kessler studied urban engineering at Delft University of Technology. He began his career as an urban and rural planner and as an alderman in Leeuwarden. In 2003 he started studying at the Amsterdam Academy of Photography, where he graduated in 2006 with his photo series Art Fairs. For the past few years, Kessler has travelled around the world in search of special landscapes and quirky places.

Dolph Kessler, Dynjandi, 2012, (detail). Collectie Fries Museum, Leeuwarden