Extravagant in scale and ambition and instantly recognisable for their eye-opening originality, Walker’s photographs dazzle with life, colour and humour. His recent work is drawn from the pages of the world’s leading magazines: British, French, American and Italian Vogue, Vanity Fair, W and The New Yorker among many others.
Walker’s photographs provided the focus of the exhibition, but the camera, he claims, ‘is simply a box put between you and what you want to capture’. Everything in Walker’s pictures is specially constructed and in a glimpse behind the mechanics, there were installations and a selection of the extraordinary props and models on show: giant grotesque dolls for Italian Vogue and an almost life-size replica of a doomed Spitfire fighter plane.
The photo shoot begins to resemble the film set: hair and make-up artists, fashion stylists and costume fitters, model makers, set designers, builders, producers and painters, prop suppliers and a cast of models playing out imagined roles. At the centre is Walker harnessing creative and technical talents to conjure up the harmonious whole in a singular picture.
The exhibition was accompanied by a series of events that feature many of Tim Walker’s long-time collaborators and uncover the influences and stories behind his work. There were workshops for all ages offering visitors the opportunity to work with some of the set designers and prop builders who have worked with Tim Walker throughout his career and talks including Tim Walker in Conversation with Penny Martin. Throughout the exhibition there was also the opportunity to see a series of films specially curated by Tim Walker. Made up of films that have inspired and influenced many of his images, these included cult movies such as La Belle at la Bete, The Red Shoes, A Matter of Life and Death and Tim’s own first feature The Lost Explorer.