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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Tim Walker: Story Teller at Somerset House

In October I travelled down to London to visit a friend, as she's currently studying Fashion Promotion; which  I combined with going to various exhibitions, including the Tim Walker Story Teller exhibition at Somerset House. 

Walkers extravagant scenes have appeared in Vogue multiple times, he has appeared in several exhibitions and has many of his own books, he is renowned for his fairytale inspired, over the top shoots, often playing with scale to make the model and the props disproportionally sized. Walker is unsatisfied with the easy appeal of a beautiful girl in a beautiful dress, and incorporates fairytale aspects with elaborate narratives. He creates a surreal photographic world where high-fashion meets surreal fantasy, one that we all want to venture to.

The exhibition captures the audience from the minute they walk through the door. Transforming the area in to a maze like space with the anticipation of what will be around the corner luring you through. Each space filled with a selection of his photographs and his oversized props, this use of the large props made you feel like you were in "Wonderland" like Alice. Alike to his images, the atmosphere was fun and childlike yet slightly eerie and subverted. One of the things I really enjoyed about the exhibition were the quotes from Walker that were transferred on to the walls, they gave an insight in to his intentions and his processes behind photography and I found his way of describing this really inspiring. The wall text, which often twists along the wall or literally round a corner, is a narrative of its own, clearly presenting a picture of Walker as an artist of enchanted tales.

The photographs in the exhibition were a mixture of fashion editorials and celebrity portraits, this shows his renowned status with the likes of Tilda Swinton, Alexander McQueen, and Vivienne Westwood letting him capture them. I really liked the creativity used in the fashion editorials, I found them fascinating and unlike some editorials for magazines they could stand alone and still be interesting and relevant in the photographic world. I also loved how the photographs evoked such a strong sense of atmosphere and emotion, combining fairytale like scenes with a creepy twist, this was noted by Walker in one of the quotes on the wall, that explained he feels fairy tales are often scary and haunting yet its when we turn in to adults we remember them as being sweet and innocent. 

Tim Walker's creations mesmerized me to the extent that I went home and admired the pictures again, paying close attention to the oversized props and how the model used them. My favourite has to be the giant doll; I give gratitude to the model because in honesty the doll scared me quite a lot!! The thought of a childhood toy being bigger than you still give me the chills. I really liked the Lily Donaldson and the Spitfire shot because I admired the vintage style. Most of Walker's shoots are minimalistic, this means that the audience has their full attention on the centre prop. 
Karlie Kloss and broken Humpty Dumpty, fashion by Gaultier Paris, 
Rye, East Sussex, 2010

Lily Donaldson and Blue Spitfire, Glemham Hall, Suffolk, 2009

Giant doll kicks Lindsey Wixson, Eglingham Hall,
Northumberland, 2011

Kinga Rajzak in flying saucer with members of the West Percy Hunt, Eglingham Hall, Northumberland, 2009

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