Tim Walker is known for his fantastical, props-based, Photoshop-free fashion photography and portraiture. In the publishing world, he’s known for arm-achingly heavy coffee table books. Tim Walker: Storyteller is no exception.
The book accompanies an exhibition of Walker’s work held in Somerset House. The exhibition closes on the 27th of January and if you’re in London at all, it is well worth a look. Original props and video are on display alongside photographs, which gives more context to essentially context-free photographs. It’s a visual feast, with photographs on display in packing cases, artfully arranged. It’s fashion photography at its best.
The book is a continuation of the ideas presented in the exhibition, in gargantuan form. It is huge, tome-ish even, and printed on glossy paper. I left the book open in a room for a few hours and, on re-entering, was struck by the fragrance of paper and ink. This is an important aspect of reading for any self-respecting bibliophile or book fetishist.
The book is low in words. In fact, save for Kate Bush’s short forward and a sprinkling of Walker quotes, the book is all gorgeous pictures. Walker is a bit like fashion Marmite, except in this case you either love him or you REALLY love him. Paired with the pictures are pages from personal scrapbooks, not unlike those found in his earlier book, Tim Walker: Pictures. Photos are culled mostly from Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar fashion shoots as well as Walker’s stock of portraits; here Helena Bonham Carter and Polly Mellen (wrapped in a bin liner) rub shoulders with anonymous and interesting people picked off the street.
High quality but a little bit style over substance, this is still an ideal book for a Tim Walker fan.
Tim Walker: Storyteller is published by Thames & Hudson and is out now.