Tim Walker- Story teller at Somerset House

Every once in a while you get the opportunity to view an exhibition that takes your breath away. Yesterday I had one of those moments. The exhibition is question? Tim Walker: Storyteller at Somerset house.
I’ve long since been a fan of  Tim Walkers work (I blogged about his work here). I think the image above was one of the first Walker shoots I saw in Vogue (ah the days when I had a Vogue subscription. Sigh). His work with its creative, quirky, playful and dreamlike nature has always appealed greatly to me.
Somehow the exhibition manages to be light and fun yet serious, dramatic and highly emotional. I found myself in tears at one point because Walkers photography seen blown up large scale is just sobeautiful.
In particular there is a photograph of Alexander McQueen with a skull from 2009, blown up large scale. I’m actually not going to share the image here, because I feel you need to see it to appreciate it. But the image, which must have been taken only a year or less before McQueen’s death has a poignancy and a realism and also seems to speak volumes about McQueen’s personality.
This exhibition also captures something of Walkers persona. From interviews I’ve read with him this exhibition simply feels like he must have had a lot of input.  It’s the play with scale that so captures Walkers sensibilities.
The length of the exhibition too was just right. It felt enough to satisfy a fan of Walkers work, yet in the same breath not too long to bore someone who had only a passing interest. I will say at this point the exhibition focuses on Walkers work from the past ten years (possibly less I’m not 100% sure what the earliest photo was) as the Design Museum has previously held an exhibition which focused on his earlier work (2008).
The setting of Somerset house is perfect for Walker’s work. There is some sense of homeliness in the rooms of the East Wing. You feel like you are entering into Walkers own personal space, into his sketch book (with the giant sketches) and into his mind.
Walker’s photography here is able to be viewed as art, as it deserves to be. Taking them away from fashion shoots, as many of these images started off life. Scale here is key and the different sizes of the images help to convey different meaning of each piece of work.
Unlike many other photography exhibitions where the photograph defines the exhibition, here the props are equally important and you feel like each  room is a work of instillation art within itself.
I’d go as far to say that the presentation here made me re-think other photography exhibitions I’ve seen  ahem *Cecil Beaton and the Queen *, because this was done so well.
So, ANY criticism? There was one picture of Kate Moss that I felt was out of place in one of the rooms. Honestly, that is my SOLE fault of the exhibition.
What else can I say? The exhibition is free, so realistically you have no excuse not to go. There is also a simply stunning book that accompanies the exhibition which will definitely be going on my Christmas list.

Fashion photographer obsessions: Tim Walker

I have A LOT of obsessions with fashion photographers, I’ve blogged before about the work of Cecil Beaton who I could go on and on about I have a huge thing for Norman Parkinson (who there is an exhibition about in Bristol at the moment) and also a soft spot for David Bailey.
Today I often find that modern photographers don’t fill me with the same sense of excitement as those in the past, although there are a few photographers whose work I absolutely adore (Demarchelier and Steven Meisel for example) Although there is one photographer whose work never ceases to amaze me and fill me with awe. Tim Walker.

Walker was heavily inspired by Cecil Beaton in his work, which I think might be one of the reasons I love his work so much. You get that same sense of light frivolity from Walkers work as I find you do from Beatons and some of the images have really clear references to Beaton. Unlike other photographers working now Walker doesn’t directly copy set ups of photographs, rather takes inspiration from past images as some of these images show (I’ve referenced originals that these remind me of where I can)

Walker has dynamism and imagination like no other photographer, I don’t think I’ve seen a single shoot by Walker that hasn’t intrigued me, he has an ability to create narratives from images that mean words aren’t necessary.
I’m just going to share a few of my favourite Walker images, I could have probably chosen hundreds but I kept myself down to a “budget” of about 20!
I tried to keep a loose theme to these images. Magic. All of these images have a sense of warped reality, and the unreal yet completely real at the same time. These suggest some of Walkers greatest abilities with proportion and props. I have to say actually that Walkers interior shot are just as good as his fashion shoots because of his amazing arrangements.

Vogue Italia September 2010
“High Style”
Model: Malgosia Bela
Photographer: Tim Walker
Styling: Jacob K.

W October 2010
“Where Troubles Melt Like Lemon Drops”
Model: Karlie Kloss
Photographer: Tim Walker
Styling: Jacob K.
Three Guinness heirs (seated) in the Blue Room of Leixlip Castle, their ancestral home, in County Kildare, Ireland—Tom Guinness, Jasmine Guinness, and Violet Ogden—flanked by family friends and neighbors Georgina O’Hagan and Poppy Lloyd.
This image really reminds me of Cecil Beatons shots of Charles James’ dresses

Vogue Italia February 2009
Fairy Time
Unknown models

The Make up here is so reminiscent of Biba make up. The last image reminds me of the image of Mrs. Conde Nast wearing a Fortuny dress with its ethereal pose

A Magic World

Vogue Italia January 2008
Models Alice Gibb and Olga Sherer

Vogue UK April 2008

Soldier, Soldier won’t you marry me?
Ph: Tim Walker
Model: Karen Elson
Fashion Editor: Katie Phelan
Hair: Neil Moodie
Make Up: Samantha Bryant

Vogue Italia November 2008 ed.

“A Private World”
Model: Sunniva Stordahl
Photo: Tim Walker

Vogue Italia March 2010 – From Supplement
Lady Grey
Photo: Tim Walker
Models: Stella Tennant, Imogen Morris Clarke
Fashion Editor: Jacob K.

Quick F.Y.I here Stella Tennant is actually the great niece of Stephen Tennant of the bright young things!

Walkers scrap book. Now I want to make a scrap book!

Weirdly, my all time fave Tim Walker image. Which is strange because a) it doesn’t feature any fashion and b) because it cats.

A little excerpt taken from the Guardian about the image:

“A lot of people get confused when they see this image. They think it was done by computer, but we actually took pigment powder, mixed it with talc to get the right ice-cream pastel colours, and brushed it into the cats. 

The owners were two proud members of the Persian cat club. I can’t remember how I found them, but they turned up in a van, covered in cat fur, and stood breathing down my neck as I took the picture. We were worried about putting all that powder into the animals’ fur, but they said: “Oh no, they absolutely love it.” The cats were such vain creatures – they adored being touched and pampered. 

Dream and Magic
Vogue Italia August 2007
Model: Stella Tennant

White Mischief
British Vogue, May 2011 –