Somewhere Over the Rainbow
[A dream - a person or thing perceived as wonderful or perfect]
Perfection, the stuff of dreams, is captured in the images of one of the most celebrated photographers of our time: Tim Walker. Combining a dream-like beauty with an airy lightness that absorbs its viewers into a world of fantasy and wonder, Tim Walker has stamped his name into the history of fashion photography. The romance and fantasy of his images draw from his life experiences: from working in the Cecil Beaton archive his creative juices sought the playful, imaginary world that we see today in all of his images. Tim Walker hasn’t just created art, he has defined it.
To celebrate the photographer’s achievements, a special exhibition at London’s Somerset House was opened to the public, from October 2012 to January 2013, which featured some of his most famous pieces, and some that are not as well-known, but still as beautiful. The dreamy quality of his work and the strong influence of fashion has fused together to create work that is like no other. Using designs from many famous designers; from Chanel to Alexander McQueen. Collaborations that have equalled perfection. As well as his photographs, some of his props and installations made their way into the exhibit; the giant, surreal doll that was used for a shoot for Italian Vogue, featuring Lindsay Wixson, a beautiful swan boat that graced several of his images, a group of insects playing instruments, and many other props to feast your eyes at. Walking through the exhibit along the beautiful wooden floor, drinking in the art that hung on the white wall, one begins to see just how important Tim Walker is; From the late and great Avant Garde designer Alexander McQueen to the renowned actress Helena Bonham-Carter, Walker has photographed some of the most famous faces of today, always with a fairy-tale-like essence.
Walker’s brilliant and chilling image of Alexander McQueen, featuring a human skull with a cigarette in its mouth, stood out to me as I walked round the room. It’s white background, McQueen’s white shirt, the darker lighting, and the simple pose link together to suggest that this image is a combined effort. Walker said that McQueen directed himself in this shoot; he introduced the cigarettes and composed himself. This collaborative direction helped to create an image that was much darker than many of Tim Walker’s art. Tim Walker and Alexander McQueen are both the staple of modern British fashion, leading powerhouses of the industry. Where one is whimsical and concentrates on the lighter side of the fairy-tale genre, the other delves deep into the darker side, exploring the Avant Garde catacombs of fashion to create incredible pieces of art that have featured many times in Tim Walkers images. Walker has not only photographed editorial spreads for the leading fashion magazines, but has also photographed some of the most high profile campaigns for a few of the most influential designers in the world; Dior, Mulberry and Juicy Couture have all enlisted the help of the top photographer.
Without fail Walker has cemented his pedestal in the British fashion hall of fame. With ad Campaigns, editorial shoots, and his own exhibition at a prestigious fashion hotspot it is safe to say that Tim Walker is a force to be reckoned with. I left the building proud that I had a chance to experience the art of such a talented man, to enter into his world and see for myself the world that he has created. A world in which one can dream, and live in utter perfection.
Words by Akeil Onwukwe-adamson