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Tim Walker: Story Teller

Step inside the East Wing Galleries of Somerset House and you’ll feel as if you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole - as a giant grotesque doll, joined by some equally humungous creatures that include a bug string quartet, a cracked humpty dumpty and a jangling skeleton hanging down from the ceiling whimsically to greet you. But, believe it or not, you haven’t landed in Alice in Wonderland, what you’re witnessing is in fact legendary photographer Tim Walker’s latest exhibition: Story Teller.

Supported by Mulberry, the story begins with Walker’s imaginative photographs which, like the extravagant installations, are fairy-tale like as he seemingly transforms a fashion shoot into a child-like fantasy. As Walker told Vogue UK, ‘It is very difficult to make the ideas in my head come to life, but what is harder is making them look effortless. A genuine sense of love for the subject matter permeates through every picture in the exhibition. Looking back at my earlier pictures, I think that the work is very much coming from the same place. I have gone through a period of challenging myself with a complicated idea to currently challenging myself with the idea of simplicity.’

Highlights include Karen Elson posing on a bed accompanied by a giant toy crocodile, Rollo Hesketh Harvey flying an ersatz plane made entirely from French baguettes, and the stunning Malgosia Bela lying face down on a bed oblivious to a slimy snail which slithers across the sheets towards her.

Amidst his enchanting - if somewhat eerie fashion photographs, you’ll see a series of iconic portraits of key influential industry names and celebrated personalities such as the late Alexander McQueen, Alber Elbaz, Vivienne Westwood and Tilda Swinton to name but a few. Although not quite as magical, Walker’s portraiture photographs are fascinating nevertheless, and provide the perfect finale to a captivating exhibition.

That said, the journey does not end there, accompanying the exhibition are a series of workshops and events, allowing the viewer to go behind the lens and step into Walker’s dream world. In addition, exhibition goers can also enjoy a set of talks and films specially curated by the man himself.

Showcasing over 175 of Tim Walker’s most influential works, as featured in leading publications such as W, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, it’s an exhibition fashion fans won’t want to miss. Though if you can’t make it, fear not -Thames & Hudson have published an accompanying book telling the whole story, complete with full imagery.

Tim Walker Story Teller runs until January 27th 2013 at Somerset House, London.

by Beatrix Zwart

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