Returning from the newly opened Tim Walker: Story Teller exhibition at Somerset House today, I stirred up a whole load of controversy at work by innocently announcing that I enjoyed certain aspects of the exhibition but overall I thought Tim Walker was overrated…
My reasons – because although I am the first person to jump on board for a bit of fairytale surrealism – and Walker’s images are exquisite in colour and lighting and his ideas superbly executed – for me there is something in their polished perfection that just fails to stir any emotion. And in my opinion, the narratives… quite predicable? Maybe I’m missing the point – after all Walker is an editorial photographer working for global Fashion magazines so of course his work is commercial. As a recent review of the exhibition in The Independent said “It’s a world where magic exists and, though darkness threatens, it is never ugly. Beauty rules here, because it is fashion, after all.”
Supported by Mulberry, Tim Walker: Story Teller showcases 175 of Walker’s most fantastical works 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.
Despite my luke-warm reaction towards Walker’s imagery the exhibition space itself inside Somerset House was simply thrilling – dotted with surreal props from Walker’s shoots – an over sized hairy insect orchestra occupied one tiny room for visitors to tentatively edge around, giant snails slithered around the walls and an enormous grinning human skeleton loomed overhead.
I also enjoyed seeing Walker’s lesser-known work, his Vanity Fair shoot with the Monty Python icons, his futuristic editorials in the desert and his beautifully sinister insect subjects.
Well worth a visit for the exhibition styling alone to make up your own mind.
Tim Walker: Story Teller is at Somerset House until the 27th of January 2013. Admission is free.
Author: Rohini Wahi
Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.
She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org