Feature: Anas Al Horani. Photorgraphy: Courtesy of Bizarrebeirut
It comes as no surprise that Richard Yasmine is a fan of Tim Walker’s photographic work. A beloved Lebanese architect and product designer, Yasmine has always had a knack for world-making. His works allude more often than not to other realities in which ordinary objects are subversively re-imagined.
Yasmine, who started out as a conceptual designer, has worked on a number of projects that embody that constant re-imagining. Clou, for example, is a large wooden flat-head pin that serves as a coffee table, Plugged is a glassware collection whose vessels imitate the shape of their brass rod bases, and Askhal is a series of vanity mirrors whose striking minimalism and lack of a gendered aesthetic forces the viewer to question their social role as well as their intimate history.
Tim Walker, on the other hand, is an internationally renowned British fashion photographer, who regularly shoots for a variety of household names including Vogue, W Magazine and LOVE Magazine. Walker’s love for world-making bestows even the most average photographic settings a mythical twist. His photography makes ample use of extravagant staging and romantic motifs, and after 15 years of work, this usage has become his unmistakable signature.
Yasmine came across Walker’s book by accident. “From time to time I like to buy myself a new art book,” he said. “As soon as I found Story Teller and leafed through it, I fell in love.” It is usually said of Walker’s photographs that they resemble stills from imaginary films, and there is a lot of truth in that. Story Teller collects Tim Walker’s work in his photographic exhibition of the same name. His pictures pay homage to early 20th-century Surrealist films. “Walker always transforms fashion photography to magic,” Yasmine told us, “He works on each and every detail in his photos.” Walker’s aesthetic preciseness seems to inspire Yasmine. “His photos forces us to think of how artists or photographers must catch every unexpected moment or movement and work on it.” Needless to say, Yasmine’s own work attests to that concentration.
“There is definitely a creative link between us two.” Yasmine said. “Walker creates fantastic moments and I create fantastic objects. He captures a magical reality and I create the elements for it.” Several shots in Story Teller reveal an uncanny alertness to their subjects, who include a lavishly bejewelled Xiao Wen, a red-haired Grace Coddington, as well as Stella Tennant next to magenta-coloured fireworks and Karlie Kloss wearing a dress inspired by the full yellow bloom of sunflowers.
“I would like to urge readers, and especially lovers of photography, fashion and scenography to check out this book,” Yasmine said. “From one page to the other, Story Teller transports us to incredibly surrealistic scenes that provoke a multitude of feelings. We witness in these photos extravagant, eccentric and splendidly romantic instances. It is a collection of masterpieces.”