Tim Walker has been a source of inspiration for me for over a decade now. Walker is a wildly successful photographer (and thus a businessman) who walks with his feet on the ground and head in the clouds.
Using models such as Lily Cole as his muse, primarily for her renaissance-esque qualities I suspect, Lily is frequently the star of Walker’s seductive show. With a swag of commercial fashion clients, you can also see him in British Vogue as a regular contributor, where he cleverly weaves romantic couture fashion into his playful fairytale sets and fables. Walker is principally a fine artist who incorporates fashion into his theme simply for the solid framework it affords him.
Fashion is the dream department of photography.
His main source of inspiration (like so few people today) is drawn from his own imagination with all its creative genius. A strict disciple to his unique vision, Walker considers his unmistakable style to be a result of his “scrapbooks”
To me, my scrapbook is more a place to let ideas simmer, until one day they’re ready to be released into the world. Without artist journals, I’d go mad with ideas and always preach the importance of a central place for your ideas. Evidently, the same is so for Walker. His volumes of treasured scrapbooks combine his fragmented fantasies for later reference. His journals filled to the brim with collages of arbitrary clippings of popular culture and fanciful scribbles.
What resonates most with me are his quotes regarding his scrapbooks:
The scrapbook for me is a cupboard full of ingredients … It’s a completely random ingredient that I draw on to bake a photograph that makes sense to me.
Although Walker’s elegant photography is undoubtedly a style and league of his own, it’s the underlying familiarity within this work that makes it so successful. He’s not trying to reinvent the wheel; he’s just faithfully building the wheel in his exact style. Using familiar themes and motifs as a foundation to each series allows Walker to use them as a playground for his imagination. Boldly introducing his own layers to the mix, Walker has fun with these themes.
Often playing with scale, Walker introduces huge props for the models to play with, transforming them into the characters of each theatrical tale. As though the models have been shrunken into the whimsical sets, these surrealist images are like alternate scenes from Alice in Wonderland. Using sets in a similar way to Eugenio Recuenco he continues to enchant the masses with every frame he delivers.