Exhibition: Tim Walker Christmas Wonderland

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Tim Walker exhibition at London’s Somerset House, Storyteller. Gallery Photo, James Stopforth

Tim Walker’s exhibition at Somerset House is a slice of photographic ‘Christmas’, mixing fairy tale, innocence, and a magical sense of the larger-than-life. Ashley Jouhar discovers some topical themes in Walker’s elegant and extravagant visions

Gallery Photo James Stopforth

Who?

Tim Walker – British fashion photographer

What?

Photography exhibition: Tim Walker – ‘Storyteller.’ It’s much more than simply an exhibition though. The layout of the exhibition, the graphics on the walls and the presence of many of the props used in the photographs add to an exhibition that is more like a theatrical experience. Perfect venue, perfect time of year, feels like Santa’s Grotto for photo-obsessives.

Gallery Photo James Stopforth

Decisive Moment?

Showing how to let your imagination run wild. Tim Walker is never restrained by the job in hand – simply selling clothes – the imagery transcends that job and as a result he positions the clothing and the setting as a package selling dreams. He integrates the dream setting, the model and the clothing in one magical photograph. The beauty of it is that he has the creative freedom to do so!

Lily Donaldson and Blue Spitfire Glemham Hall, Suffolk, 2009 © Tim Walker

Trend?

Fantasy and escape from the drudgery of every day life. Times are tough. Reality can be grim for many people in these austere times. The imagery has a wit, creativity and a fantasy element that takes viewers out of themselves and acts as the perfect antidote to these challenging times.

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

Which Image? Which Room?

The large doll in the blue dress attacking the model, Lyndsey Wixon, over the barbed wire fence! The image feels Hitchcockian in a way, except there are no birds, crop dusters or shower scenes, simply an oversized Shirley Temple causing GBH! It’s funny and bizarre but compositionally very graphic with its colour palette of blues and the green of the grass. The large doll is on display at Somerset House too and looms over the exit door to the exhibition – the last thing you see as you leave, in fact.

Giant doll kicks Lindsey Wixson Eglingham Hall, Northumberland, 2011 © Tim Walker

One question for the Image Maker?

I can see Cecil Beaton’s influence in your imagery and the large scale production approach of Gregory Crewdson, although visually his work is nothing like yours. I know you assisted Avedon too but who else’s style and approach had an impact on your image making?

Olga Shearer on blue horse Sennowe Park, Norfolk, 2007 © Tim Walker

Tim Walker is on at London’s Somerset House until 27 January 2013. Open daily from 10.00-18.00, Until 21.00 on Thu 29 Nov & 6, 13, 20 Dec (24 & 31 Dec: 10.00-16.00, 25 & 26 Dec: closed, 1 Jan: 12.00-18.00) East Wing Galleries, East Wing. Free admission. His book Storyteller is out now.

Karlie Kloss and broken Humpty Dumpty Rye, East Sussex, 2010 © Tim Walker

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About Author

Ashley Jouhar is the Creative Director of Image Source. He has worked as a senior creative in the photography industry for over 12 years, previously as Deputy Director of Photography at Getty Images. He is also a photographer in his own right, shooting lifestyle, documentary and portraiture for a wide range of clients. Before turning to photography full time, Ashley worked as a senior Art Director and Group Head at McCann Erickson, London, creating award winning advertising for Bacardi, Shredded Wheat, Black & Decker, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Birds Eye, amongst others.

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