We really appreciate the work of Copenhagen-based Englishman Alastair Philip Wiper and love his recent series in which he combines two of our favorite concepts: aesthetics and craftsmanship. The beautiful series shot in the familiar clean aesthetic of the photographer shows the factory of another favorite of ours: Danish company S.N.S. Herning located in Herning and famous for its knitwear. The company was founded in 1931 by Søren Nielsen Skyt, and enjoys worldwide recognition for producing their iconic fisherman sweater using a bobble technique developed by Skyt, intended to help with insulation. The company has had it’s ups and downs, and the collection has grown and shrunk, and until just a few years ago it had shrunk so much that it was almost non-existent, surviving only by selling a few of the classic fisherman’s sweaters. That is when the grandson of the original Søren Skyt, also Søren Skyt, decided to quit his job and focus on reviving the company after which the factory depicted by Wiper was taken into use.
When the new premises was bought it was stocked with classic wool processing machines, after which the size of the collection increased drastically and S.N.S. Herning, for the first time, started to sell to high-end fashion stores around the world. Søren Skyt Jr. can be kept responsible for bringing the textile industry back to the city of Herning which S.N.S. lends its name from. When the company was in heavy weather a lot of the former glory of the city that relied heavy on textile weaving as it’s main principle activity was lost. Which fortunately after the revival of S.N.S. was greatly restored, beautifully witnessed through the beautiful photography of Alastair Philip Wiper.
The series of Wiper, for one, features depictions of the machines in the factory in the form of diptychs and triptychs. These are the machines which were acquired by Skyt Jr. when the new factory was taken in use and are primarily German and some Japanese, dating from the 1950′s to the 1980′s. Many of them work with an analogue technique where the patterns are punched into special cards that are then fed into the machines. These cards aren’t produced anymore, therefore Skyt sources the world finding them. In the meantime the holes in the cards are fascinatingly so taped over so that the card can be re-used. But not just the diptychs and triptychs of the machines are great, the other photographs of the series underline the industrial beauty of the environment of the S.N.S. Herning factory through the eye of Wiper which is expertly trained in finding beauty in odd places.
We love these classical crafty techniques used by S.N.S. and how Wiper succeeded in depicting the aesthetic glory of these magnificent machines.