Tuesday, 5 November 2013

story teller

"Only photograph what you love."
- Tim Walker

I first discovered Tim Walker's work last year (laaaaaaate in the game, I know, but I promise I'll make up for it), on a spur-of-the-moment decision to wander past one of my London favourites, the Somerset House.  Having only planned to pop in and inhale some holiday cheer in the form of ice skating hipsters, I was drawn in by a friend who works in the gallery.  He boldly claimed that this would be my favourite exhibition ever to grace SH, so of course, challenge accepted.

He was right.

Tim Walker has a gift for the fantastical, the images you wish were real, from couture renderings of fairy tales tinged with the macabre to whimsical biplanes constructed from baguettes.  If you haven't checked out his work, do so here, and be ready not to come up for air for a while. 

In his own words, he describes his philosophy on the evolution of his work:

"It is very difficult to make the ideas in my head come to life, but what is harder is making them look effortless. A genuine sense of love for the subject matter permeates through every picture... Looking back at my earlier pictures, I think that the work is very much coming from the same place. I have gone through a period of challenging myself with a complicated idea to currently challenging myself with the idea of simplicity."

In his most recent editorial for Vogue UK's holiday edition, you have the best of both.  Stunningly simple photos of Edie Campbell in muddied racing silks.  Achingly dramatic gowns posed on wrecked, rusted combines.  Owls and snakes, feathers and fur, clothing and nudity - Walker's the king of unbridled restraint. 

His subjects make this editorial even more beguiling: many of the great creatives of British fashion are present, both aspiring and renowned.  Walker's portraits achieve even greater poignancy for their ability to wed his experimental ambitions with a precise rendering of each subject's unique personality.

This is one of my favourite editorials to date, and a perfect way to commemorate yet another year of British genius.

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