A Discussion of Tim Walker's Work

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Full of fantasy, romance, beauty and almost always an out of proportion prop, each image of Tim Walker’s is full of genius imagination that takes us in one look to an idyllic scene. Born in Gulidford, England in 1970, Walker is often criticised for being ‘very English’. ‘I’m just cutting and pasting various British icons together to create a montage of pure Britishness. These photographs are rather romantic visions of an England past’ (WALKER, 2008, P9). Walkers’ upbringing in Guildford, surrounded by country has left in him with a feeling of love when it comes to Britain’s landscapes that he wants to show it off in his images, in any which way he can. This essay compares and contrast two works by Tim Walker that are identifiable as his signature style, however individually differ in diverse ways to each other. Taking into consideration the ideas behind the image and how and where he draws his inspiration from to create images that inspire others. His style so unique and recognisable, this essay will take into consideration the historical and social contexts to his works and if his style is a reflection of his inner self, childhood and naturally occurring ideas, or if this style is something he created and now lives within.

After graduating from Exeter College of Art, where he studied photography for 3 years, Walker worked as a freelance photography assistant in London. However, it was his move to New York and assisting the photographer Richard Avedon that may have forwarded his career so that at the very early age of 25 he had shot his first fashion story for Vogue. Today a London based photographer, Tim Walker is at the top of his profession and internationally known for his cutting- edge fashion photography; taking fashion further so that fashion becomes seconded to fantasy and surrealism. Walkers innovative photography places him in the midst of the most creative and imaginative photographers out there today. ‘Tim sees pictures in front of him which are not yet there’ (DERRICK, 2008, p124.) It is the detailed planning of every image and the ideas that starts the process of the final images he is famous for; for each project of Tim’s, you’ll be able to find a scrapbook full of clippings and ideas found from anywhere. ‘My ideas for all my photographs come from any number of places; a film, or a book I’m reading, a story someone tells me. I take loads of visual references and put them into scrapbooks. I’ve got hundreds of them.’ (WALKER, 2009, [WWW]) It is these scrapbooks that have provided inspiration for a number of Tim’s shoots. But it’s to be remembered that the inspiration has come from things that have already been, but that he took interest in. ‘I don’t believe in originality. You take inspiration from whatever moves you and you find your own voice in those things’ (WALKER, 2008, p242) Tim Walker saying this, is almost find ironic because his pictures are often named original. However, if it is replicated from/inspired by something/anything he may have seen before- as like most pictures- it can only be your take with your voice on it. However Walker’s inspiration doesn’t stop at that, he also looks to photographers before him for inspiration. “Cecil Beaton took so many photographs that purely to me represent the joy one gets from creating fantasy” (WALKER TIM, 2009, [WWW])

The opening to Tim Walkers book Pictures, like all others, start with a foreword. However, unlike all others Tim has handwritten his as if it was just another page in his scrapbook. Located only six pages in after only the credits and title, this is really the very first thing you see in the book and it gives great indication to the style of the book and if you did not know much about Tim beforehand; a great introduction to him, his style and how he thinks. Not only is it the actually content of the foreword: ‘as you tour your imagination you want to photograph what you are seeing…you are SO very keen to be able to show what you’ve seen...
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