Tim Walker: Wonderful Things at the V&A

One of this year’s cultural highlights was a visit to the fabulous Tim Walker: Wonderful Things exhibition at the V&A, a magical and immersive journey into the imagination and creative process of one of our most distinctive and original photographers.

One of British fashion’s most prominent names whose work has appeared countless times in British and Italian Vogue, he was greatly influenced by the photography of Norman Parkinson and Cecil Beaton (whose photo archive he collated as an intern at Vogue in the 1990s). His work is romantic and celebratory, and yet distinctly and idiosyncratically his. In the era of Photoshop, where everything is possible, Tim Walker’s photographs are physical and analogue: beautifully crafted stage sets of waking dreamscapes and surrealist visions of a lost England, each image, ‘a souvenir brought back from a daydream’.

Taking its name from the first words spoken by Howard Carter as he entered the tomb of Tutankhamun, each of the rooms in the exhibition drew on treasures from the V&A’s archive as centrepieces. Victorian illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley sat alongside a collection of black and white graphic photographs, stained glass windows next to a series of photographs of Grace Jones lit in devilish red. Super 8 films, notebooks and scrapbooks, sets and props, photographs and sketches, this was an exhibition rich in colour and texture and sound, each room ‘a love letter to an object from the V&A collection and an attempt to capture my encounter with the sublime’.