Tim Walker at Somerset House
If you are in London and have a spare hour or two this week, I urge you to head to Somerset House to catch the last of Tim Walker’s (free) photography exhibition.
As one of Britain’s most influential fashion photographers, all the works shown have already been displayed on the pages of top international fashion magazines, such as British, French and Italian Vogue, Vanity Fair and W, yet there is nothing stale or recycled about this exhibition. Imagination- we are told- is the crux of the exhibition, with the focus on preparation and a highly constructed composition rather than an over-manipulated digital image (something that Walker scorns at).
Most notably, the exhibition begins with a room filled with an almost life-size replica of a spitfire plane that was used on set to invade and penetrate domestic interiors. The highly tactile display combined with the surreal photography produced by Walker introduces an innovative narrative to all his work, challenging the viewer’s perception of what is real and what is imagined, what is seen and what is felt.
At the first glance it’s hard to believe that Walker’s images are not digitally manipulated, especially due to the intriguing smoky effect he so often achieves. Although undoubtedly fashion is the context for all of the images, due to their highly complex construction I would argue that the fashion element is sidelined in favour of a more compelling narrative.
There is no doubt that Walker is a storyteller, and as the so-titled exhibition evolves the spectator is introduced to an array of characters and bizarre creatures along the way. Naturally, with such a high profile photographer, several famous faces such as Agnes Deyn, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Burton and (lest we forget) several disturbing shots of Tilda Swinton are portrayed in an array of disguises as Walker continually surprises the viewer not only with his creative powers as a photographer, but with his technical talents too.
Each room is filled with inventions from Walker’s wild imagination that will keep you on your toes, although a word of warning goes out to those with fears of dolls, especially giant ones.
The exhibition runs until Sunday 27th January 2013, East Wing Galleries, Somerset House.