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Tim Walker: The Master of Fantasy

For many of us, fashion is our true form of imagination. We appreciate it for the freedom it gives us to create and express our emotions. From the clothes we pick out to the persona we strive for, fashion can allow oneself to become anything of, or out of this world. For Tim Walker, that is only the half of it. His sense of creativity exists in photography. Walker’s photographs allow him to transform the newest of fashion and everyday objects into a world of fanciful illusion. With the help of his favorite set designers such as Shona Heath, Rhea Thierstein and Andy Hillman, Tim Walker has brought unlimited original, and artistic ideas to fashion photography.

Tim Walker’s photographs are an escapade for the eyes. From 300 real canaries flying around a haunted, ghost-like glass ship, to the labyrinth sculptures at Las Pozas in Mexico, Walker uses his spellbinding creativity to transform real-life into his own fantasy. Although, these fantasies could easily be ours as well. Walker uses his camera as “a window to something magical” (Faded and Blurred) The esteemed photographer seems to tap into the collective dreams of the public, creating a vast sense of nostalgia from a setting that never existed in the first place. Walker explains his enchanting sets perfectly in one quote: “They’re all dreams; every picture is a fantasy. The set pieces definitely are fantasies and I think that the model or the sitter in a picture is the window for the viewer – for any person – to be a part of that fantasy. It’s me asking them, inviting them, to enter into that, whether it’s a dark and sinister mood or a beautiful fairytale. It’s escapism – that’s what it is” (The White Review).

All of Walker’s make-believe worlds are tangible, in the sense that everything is done with real props and no digital enhancement. Tim Walker’s sets include anything from toy soldiers under layers of pastel dust, gargantuan flower arrangements with arboreal furry friends, to thousands of technicolored balloons playfully engulfing a countryside mansion. Tim Walker does not care about what trends are gallivanting down the runway, yet he has the power of transforming an entire world highlighting the different shapes and fabrics. As if intricately beaded and bejeweled haute couture gowns weren’t magical enough, Walker gives them a fantastical place to thrive. Walker explains, “Fashion is the only photography that allows fantasy, and I’m a fantasist.” As someone who is deeply inspired by the fantasy of fashion, I am forever thankful for Tim Walker. His ability to use his uninhibited magical competence to create the fairytales I see, both in my dreams and in fashion, is incredible. There is no one else like him. His theatrical contribution to fashion will live on forever; he is truly a story teller.

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