The Inspiration Set No.2

I first learned about Tim Walkers fantastical fashion photography at around age 13. My mother used to keep copies of Vogue and House & Garden in the bathroom on an elegant little stool. I never understood why she put them there when I was young. After all, the females in my house were all inclined to get in and out of the bathroom as quickly as possible, it was dad that seemed to hole up in there for hours reading the paper or his book... How utterly old fashioned (I know) but in a house of three women, it was dad that needed to retreat the most. The magazines sat there looking elegant and redundant for most of my childhood, but around age 13, Vogue stopped looking so boring and started feeling inviting. I pinched a copy and threw myself down on my bed.

Tim Walker was an immediate hit with a young teen obsessed with indulging in her own creativity. At that age I wanted to be an actress or a singer, and as such I spent the final waking hours of each and every day underneath the duvet, headphones in, practicing how to cry or pretending I was Annie Lennox in concert. Singing at the top of my lungs (whilst actually mouthing each line silently so as to not get busted). Poring over fashion editorials had an appeal for me because of that very word 'editorial'. I loved story telling. Writing songs, performing theatre, creating universes through set design. All of these art forms inhabited the same place in my mind - my greedy and insatiable imagination. 

If you'd have hopped in a time machine and whispered in my ear 'Ruby, YOU will contribute to these pages one day'. I wouldn't have believed a word of it. Although I adored Vogue and its unparalleled visual story telling, I had no interest in the fashion industry. I wanted to tell my own stories, yes, but primarily through song writing. It hadn't even occurred to me that I could communicate - as Tim Walker was doing to me - through any sort of silent medium. Visual art turned me on, but I was going to be a singer (or maybe an actress) and nothing else registered on my radar, so far as what I might one day BE.

It is for this reason that I treasure Tim and his photographs so much. He was teaching me about how to express myself from such an early age... yet little did I know the form that expression would eventually take. 

I could harp on about what I see in his photography and use lots of adjectives and try to be a critic but I'd probably do a bad job, because I'm not the best at analysis. Instead I shall tell you a story.
Looking at Tim Walkers photography reminds me of a trick I used to do when I was little. Lying in bed I'd press hard on my eye sockets. Some of you might be thinking (and in the words of Annie Lennox) 'WHY'. I bet loads of you though have done the same. If you press hard enough and for long enough you start seeing psychedelic shapes and patterns appear. Keep going and it starts to ache. A sort of worryingly dull ache that means you know you're not doing yourself any real harm but you probably shouldn't be pushing it (it being your precious eye balls). Of course this means one does push it. And if you keep going for many many minutes, you forget all about where you are (in your bed in the hallway 'bedroom' because you insisted on having your own room and somehow your canny little sister managed to win the only proper spare bedroom with actual privacy in the house) and instead you are drifting off in to a universe of stars and spirals and bonkers patterns. This was my first taste of tripping and I was hooked. I poked my eyeballs so often I'm amazed I can see. Tim Walker pokes my mind in less painful ways, but he takes me to the same far off universe. He expands my sense of wonder and grows my imagination and for that I am forever grateful to him.