Review of Tim Walker: Storyteller

In his unique and extravagantly innovative way, photographer Tim Walker has yet again captured style and narrative in his recent works, currently on display at Somerset House until 27 January. The photographer’s newest exhibition Storyteller, collates his images featured in Vogue, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, representing exactly how he can click fashion into life. With the use of large-scale props and installations the exhibition brings you inside the mind of a truly fascinating artist.

For those unaware of Tim Walker, an artist who has chosen to discard the more common approach to fashion photography, the exhibition will reveal his methodology and mechanics via installations. Among these features are the presence of several props used to evoke the fairy-tale nature behind his pictures. These elements work to bring the exhibition alive as well as helping us understand Walkers love of “the material aspect of image-making” and, in particular why Walker is so highly regarded.

There are several images that particularly stand out, Tilda Swinton in aviator goggles is one momentous piece. The image, for W Magazine, depicts a dark Witch emerging from a cracked Humpty Dumpty. The picture provides a traditional nursery rhyme with an edgy fashion twist and highlights the whimsical nature of Walkers work. The image also emphasises the dual themes of the entire exhibition.

The gallery space is, in many ways, overwhelmed by Walker’s now infamous props, including his Humpty Dumpty and large-scale doll, featured in Italian Vogue. The props continue to emphasise the power behind Walker’s photography, as even without their glorified setting they are visually impressive. The set-up of the exhibition is alluring, with several of his large-scale features such as his White Swans and insects playing instruments being used to increase the sense of wonder. Most notably, a large-scale skeletal prop which looms curiously over unsuspecting guests, seems to remind us that in this setting we are cast as Alice in Walker’s Wonderland.

The exhibition is also accompanied by workshops, featuring a number of people who have worked with the Photographer. This proves highly insightful as one gains the ability to understand Tim Walker’s mind and influences. As well as this, several films help us capture the ideas behind Walker’s pictures, echoes of the films are seen in most of the images.

But beyond the large-scale props and installations we see the images of both an innovative fashion photographer and a dreamer. This combination of both fashion and familiar fairy tales works to create a phenomenal and inspiring collection that is certainly not to be missed.

Tim Walker: Storyteller, until 27 January, Somerset House, Strand London WC2R 1LA.

Naomi Nightingale

1. Malgosia Bela & five guardsmen, Glemham Hall, Suffolk, 2009 © Tim Walker.
2. Olga Shearer on blue horse, Sennowe Park, Norfolk, 2007 © Tim Walker.
3. Giant doll kicks Lindsey Wixson, Eglingham Hall, Northumberland,2011© Tim Walker.
4. Karlie Kloss and broken Humpty Dumpty, Rye, East Sussex, 2010 © Tim Walker.