Tim Walker: Storyteller at Somerset House

So I have been MIA the past two months; law school mixed with a few other things have made my life the past eight weeks reminiscent of an Eastenders' plot line. 

Fear not though. I visited  number of exhibitions on Tim Walker, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Rick Guest. I was going to write quite lengthy posts on each exhibition, but frankly I was so very disappointed with the Cartier-Bresson exhibition that I don't think I will really write much about it. 

Greeting text upon entering the exhibition

Out of all three exhibitions, Tim Walker; The Storyteller impacted me the most. It has been open to the public since October 18 and closed on 27 January, so it had been open for a while.  


 If anything, it was disappointing to leave the East Wing Galleries when it ended because I didn't want to leave the fantastical world that the exhibition created. The exhibition was super. The way in which it was set out was perfect as well as the way in which each section of the exhibition was grouped together. Seeing many of the props, such as the blue spitfire on entrance and the giant doll on exit was amazing. My favourite prop was probably the giant swan boat. I didn't expect it to be the size that it was, but it was beautiful. Seeing some of the props alongside the images they were used in showed how in Walker's works, things are not always proportional, which added to the fact he is a dream-maker and storyteller. 
Swan Boat

As a fan of Walker's photography, I was familiar with many of the images. There were, however, some that were new to me. The exhibition placed a lot of emphasis on his portraiture work, but what struck me was the simplicity of the images. Most of them, if not all, were set against a white backdrop with a white table in the foreground. The brightness of the white made you focus on the subject matter and really look into the images. My favourite, was probably the series of photos with John Cleese, Michael Palin and others, which were made for the 40th anniversary of the broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus

I don't really like insects and try to stay clear of imagery involving them, so walking through the section of the exhibition with the props of the bumble bee playing the cello and snail slightly creeped me out-especially the snail! The bumble bee reminded me of James and the Giant Peach and so made me wonder to what extent is Walker's work based on his own imagination and how much is he influenced by films and novels, given that he is obviously heavily influenced by his own childhood.  

Grace Coddington and hair brush
Xiao Wen Ju for Givenchy Haute Couture, 2011
Alber Elbaz with bunny ears

With quotes by Walker scattered across the walls of the exhibition, I imagined myself swooning over him, as I imagined him saying them out loud, as I left the galleries and waved goodbye to the giant doll....

creepy doll
Image of the giant doll, from All Things Go.

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