First rising to prominence in the 1990s through his unique and captivating form of storytelling, Tim Walker quickly grew to become one of the world’s most inventive photographers. Presenting his permanent and most recent collections in two of London’s leading exhibition spaces, both the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Michael Hoppen Gallery celebrate Walker’s spectacular contribution to image-making over the last 25 years. Both exhibitions immerse visitors in the fantastical imagination of an elaborative and inspiring individual and we had the chance to visit both and experience the whimsical journey.
Wonderful People, Walker’s first private gallery exhibition, takes place at the iconic Michael Hoppen Gallery, a space that is known for its passion for photography and fostering careers of new and interesting artists. Proudly displaying works which have graced global magazine covers over the last 15 years, Wonderful People specifically celebrates Walker’s talent in capturing portraiture. As the gallery notes, ‘Tim Walker and Michael Hoppen have delved through the archives to uncover wonderful pictures of wonderful people in wonderful places – often doing wonderful things.’ The result? Daring, bold and captivating images each telling a story of their own through Walker’s extraordinary imaginative landscape. His meticulous eye for detail in portraiture is instantly recognisable, through the playful personalities he portrays and the bespoke narratives he creates. A feast of truly wonderful photographs, Michael Hoppen’s private exhibition is an indulgent taste of Walker’s artistic talent.
Displaying Walker’s largest-ever exhibition, the V&A presents an extraordinary journey of his career, including over 150 new works inspired by their permanent collection. As the photographer asserts, ‘Each new shoot is a love letter to an object from the V&A collection, and an attempt to capture my encounter with the sublime. For me, beauty is everything. I’m interested in breaking down the boundaries that society has created, to enable more varied types of beauty and the wonderful diversity of humanity to be celebrated.’ The result is a captivating and rich journey.
Upon entering, visitors are greeted with over 100 photographs of Walker’s previous projects, which then lead onto the main exhibition space where contrast is key. From a dark and rich environment to bright and extravagant, the ten evocative rooms present his various collections inspired by the museum. Concluding the exhibition is a vibrant yellow space that pays tribute to the museum’s collection once owned by Edith Sitwell.
Walker’s emphasis on casting both famous and up-and-coming performers and models to celebrate beauty in all forms adds to his distinctive take on imaginative photography. An absolute must-see, Walker never ceases to amaze with his creations.
Visit Michael Hoppen’s exhibition on Walker until 25 January 2020.
Visit the V&A’s exhibition on Walker until 8 March 2020.
Second Image: Adwoa Aboah, Royal Female, Fashion: Gosha Rubchinskiy, London 2017. Tim Walker Studio, Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
Sixth Image: Richard Quinn, Floral Chair and Living Mannequin, London 2016. Tim Walker Studio, Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery