London Culture on a Student Budget
Georgie Coupe continues to brings you her weekly culture find of the week for amazing value for money. This week, she’s been to the Tim Walker: Story Teller exhibition
Tim Walker is most famous for his fantastical fashion photography. This exhibition explores a mixture of his fairytale scenes and his lesser known pieces providing us with a whole new dimension to his work.
The exhibition is set in the beautiful Georgian rooms of Somerset House, filled with the props used in his photo sequences. The first room has been invaded by the enormous war plane creating a similar setting to the sequence of photos inspired by the film ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ (a love film about a Lancaster bomber pilot during World War II) using the model Lily Donaldson. Walker himself said, “what I’m photographing is an imaginary place that never existed but is often connected to something that has already been.”
Images of the past and of childhood fairytales are a recurrent theme in Walker’s photography. Candy pastel, lace figures and a swan boat contrast the dark and slightly spooky backgrounds; his photos could never be considered as twee, they have a sinister edge creating a distinct and alluring style. Walker draws inspiration directly from childhood stories, (the title of the exhibition Story Teller is highly appropriate). The supermodel Karlie Kloss is photographed on a fragmented yellow brick road and jumping over Humpty Dumpty (after he fell off the wall), there are even enormous insect props used in another sequence resembling the bugs from Honey I Shrunk the Kids. The photos play on nostalgic childhood fantasies. Walker believes nostalgia and photography have an important relationship; as soon as a photo is taken, it becomes the past.
This exhibition also displays Tim Walker’s other achievements showing his versatility as a photographer. Walker is responsible for one of the most famous portraits of the late Alexander McQueen, photographed with a skull & and a cigarette in his mouth. The Monty Python actors are portrayed in a more comical light; lined up in a row frazzled by exploding pipes. Tim Walker also touches on the impermanence of beauty by using older subjects such as Vivienne Westwood, Anne Piaggi and Albert Elbaz in rabbit ears; he is not merely a fashion photographer obsessed by youth.
I would recommend this exhibition to anyone, whether a photography lover of not, it is easy to appreciate and understand the genius of Tim Walker’s work.
Tim Walker: Story Teller
18 October–27 January
East Wing Galleries, Somerset House