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Tim Walker

‘An attachment to the idea of what Britain used to be is, I believe, the key to many of Tim Walker’s photographs. And what, in the childhood magically meant: loyalty and camaraderie; long golden summers, an unquenchable thirst for adventure and as a backdrop, the constancy of the English landscape.’

(Muir, 2008: p9) 3




Tim Walker

Guy Aroch

CONTENTS Abstract Introduction Methodology Literature Review Chapters

Conclusion Bibliography List of Illustrations Acknowledgements 4

1.0 1.1 1.2 2.0 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3

The Nostalgic Gaze Nostalgia Theory The Nostalgia Mode Tim Walker’s England and the Retro-Idyllic Lens The ‘New Wave’ in Retro-Chic Guy Aroch, David Bellemere and Jonathan Leder The Soft Focus Seventies Soft Focus = Soft-Core?

5 6 10 12 16 17 18 20 24 24 25 27 28 30 32 34


From Revival magazine

ABSTRACT Nostalgia for an idyllic past and romantic representations of national heritage and identity appear to be recurring themes in contemporary fashion photography, but this is an area that has undergone limited critical analysis. The final independent project explores the cultural significance of this trend, by using both a theoretical and practical approach. It focuses on two areas: the work of Tim Walker, a photographer whose images are frequently identified with the aforementioned themes, and an emerging school of fashion photographers referencing pre-digital filmic traditions, including Guy Aroch and David Bellemere. A combination of semiotics and postmodernist theory has been employed to examine contemporary fashion photography in this context. The themes and ideas identified in this process have been developed and re-contextualised to develop a magazine, which provides a visual exploration of nostalgia, memory and tradition.

Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of BA (HONS) FASHION STUDIES: MEDIA,CULTURE AND COMMUNICATIONS London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, May 2009




In 2008, the Design Museum in London staged a major retrospective of the work of a young British fashion photographer called Tim Walker, accompanied by the publication of an anthology of his work over the past 15 years for publications such as British, American and Italian Vogue. In a short space of time, Walker’s photographs have not only come to be recognised as iconic, but also idiosyncratically British, as his frequent commissions to photograph ‘quintessentially’ English or British personalities and themes testify1. And yet, his fantastical and sometimes surreal2 images heavily reference past eras rather than resembling the urban, multi-cultural and technological reality of a modern Britain. Tim Walker has said that he is heavily influenced by a happy and carefree childhood in rural Devon3. This goes some way 1 ‘Being British’, Casa Vogue, Vogue Italia; 2005, ‘England Made Them’, Vanity Fair, 2008, and ‘The British Are Coming’, British Vogue, 2009, are among a number of Walker’s shoots with English or British themes. 2 Muir describes Walker’s surrealism as ‘the genial surrealism of Magritte rather than the ambiguous, sexually charged tableaux of Dali. At its most intoxicating, it’s that peculiar British notion of surrealism as slapstick, endless summer fun’ (Muir: 2008, p10). 3 Walker has said ‘My “Britishness” has had quite relevance for me without being aware of it. I had a very happy childhood – a very good family – and it is that idyllic time I look back to’ (Walker, 2007).


to explaining the pastoral and idyllic elements in his work. However, this image is not necessarily typical of the childhoods of many of the admirers of Walker’s photography, so why do his images hold such an appeal?

‘As a child, I loved children’s books. Today I see my work is often reminiscent of the images I studied for hours.... Everything is connected to what I drew upon as a child.’ (Walker, 2007) As a fashion student and as a working stylist, I had an admiration for, but limited knowledge of, Walker’s work when I began researching this project. Despite the fact that Walker is a very successful fashion photographer and a regular contributor to Vogue, I found little evidence that his work


Tim Walker

had been analysed in much depth4. At the same time, his photography, with its numerous references, appeared to be ripe for analysis.

a nostalgic longing for a possibly idealised image of Britain’s past that we can see from the popularity of Laura Ashley interiors to period films5.

Furthermore, on commencing and in-depth review of his body of work, I found that I had perhaps been inadvertently influenced by it in my own practice and this is something that I wished to explore further. Walker’s work has therefore provided the starting point for the practical element of this project, a fashion magazine, ‘Revival’, that provides a visual exploration of the themes within this dissertation. The photography in the magazine is not an homage to Walker, and I have not attempted to re-create any of his shoots. Rather, I have taken his work, some of the influences behind it and some of the questions it raised, and re-conceptualised it in my own practice.

This dissertation explores the semiotics behind these images and what it is about them that signifies ‘British’ to the reader. In particular, it examines the relationship between national identity, heritage and nostalgia and, through image analysis, examines the appeal of the nostalgic signs and signifiers and the potential for ‘mythologies’ within his work. Key to this is the work of Roland Barthes, who argues that myths are socially constructed methods of communication rather than facts or objects in themselves (Barthes, 2000).

Walker’s work is representative of a wider trend towards 4 For example, in Fashion as Photograph, published in 2008, Eugenie Shinkle examines in detail contemporary fashion photographers such as Corinne Day, Mario Testino and Juergen Teller, but Walker is not mentioned in the book. I could not find reference to Walker in other recent publications exploring fashion photography from a theoretical perspective.

In addition, Walker chooses to shoot on film rather than use digital technology, and instead of constructing his fantastical scenes and effects in post-production6, he creates them on set , so that what the viewer experiences is the ‘moment’ that Walker captures through his lens. 5 ‘The quality costume drama has proved both critically successful and of significant box-office interest in Britain, but also in other markets, especially the USA’ (Higson, 2005: p1). 6 Walker specifies in his anthology Pictures, for example, that ‘None of the photographs in this book have been electronically manipulated’ (Walker, 2008: p365).



Tim Walker

Instead of constructing his fantastical scenes and effects in post-production, he creates them on set, so that what the viewer experiences is the ‘moment’ that Walker captures through his lens. It could be argued that despite the elaborately constructed sets and styling, Walker’s photographs are in a sense more ‘real’ than the digitally manipulated images we have become accustomed to seeing in fashion magazines, which brings me to the question of what is ‘real’ and what is artifice when it comes to the image? To address this question, I have applied theories on postmodernism, such as those of Frederic Jameson and Jean Baudrillard. Both theorists refer to a new culture of the


image or the ‘simulacra’ (Jameson, 1991: p6) where image has replaced reality (Baudrillard, 1990: p74). Jameson also argues that in postmodernism, personal style and a sense of history have been replaced with pastiche and nostalgia (Jameson, 1991).

Muir describes Walker’s surrealism as ‘the genial surrealism of Magritte rather than the ambiguous, sexually charged tableaux of Dali. At its most intoxicating, it’s that peculiar British notion of surrealism as slapstick, endless summer fun.’ (Muir: 2008, p10)


Guy Aroch

Walker’s work is one example of a growing nostalgic aesthetic within fashion photography. Increasingly, contemporary photographers are rejecting digital technologies in favour of film, but what is particularly interesting is the deliberate use of basic, ‘out dated’ film technologies, such as Polaroid or medium format film, and also the use of digital techniques to recreate the effects of these. This style, typified in the work of photographers such as Guy Aroch, David Bellemere and Jonathan Leder, is now so prevalent in fashion photography that it has become difficult to differentiate the ‘authentic’ film images from the digitally manipulated. The genre of photography which Aroch, Bellemere and Leder appear to typify is also often explicit in terms of nudity, pose, styling and references which seem to pay homage more to 1970s soft-core pornography, such as the film Emmanuelle, than fashion photography from the same era. ‘Porno-chic’ or ‘pornification’ is not a new concept within fashion photography. It has been examined in depth by theorists such as Brian McNair. What is pertinent to this study is its new manifestation in a nostalgic form. In Chapter 2, I explore this development from a post-feminist perspective and question whether it is a reaction to ‘unrealistic’

representations of women in mainstream soft-core pornography. Are these photographers appropriating a pre-digital aesthetic in order to present a subversive re-invention of the fashion photograph, one that rejects the increasingly manipulated images of ‘perfection’ presented in mainstream fashion advertising and editorial, and indeed in pornography, or does the combination of filmic techniques, careful styling and knowing references to popular culture from the past simply represent a nostalgic ‘pastiche’, as defined by Jameson? By conveying a highly stylised and idyllic image of the past, do these images simply create mythologies every bit as hegenomous as those described by Barthes?




From the outset of this project, I have employed an integrated approach to both the theoretical and practical elements. Much of the theoretical research undertaken has helped to generate ideas for the fashion shoots in the magazine. In turn, the process of exploring these concepts through practical application has helped to refine and redefine the focus of the theoretical work.

An Exploration of Tim Walker’s Work As a starting point, I researched articles written by or about Tim Walker and interviews he had given, together with conducting image analysis of his scrapbooks as well as his photography. This helped to identify some of the key influences and inspirations behind his work, including other photographers, such as Cecil Beaton1, literature , films such as The Red Shoes2 and the Pre-Raphaelite movement in art3. Research 1 Walker began his career as an intern at British Vogue, where he was tasked with archiving the work of Cecil Beaton. He has frequently cited Beaton as an influence (Showstudio, 2009; British Vogue, 2007). 2 Walker names The Red Shoes as a significant influence on his work in an article he wrote for British Vogue in December 2009. 3 In his interview for Showstudio, Walker cites a number of PreRaphaelite paintings as the inspiration for ‘A Private World’, Vogue Italia, 2008. It is interesting to note that the Pre-Raphaelite movement was a revival of medieval art, so in effect, already a form of nostalgia (Brown: 2001).


into these influences has been used to inform discourses within the theoretical debate but also to provide a richer subtext for my practical work.

Textual Analysis Alan McKee describes textual analysis as the interpretation of texts in order to establish an idea of ‘the ways in which, in particular cultures at particular times, people make sense of the world around them’ (McKee, 2005: p1). Unlike quantitative data, such as statistics, textual analysis is a tool to find out not just that a text is consumed and interpreted in a certain way, but to explore how and potentially why (McKee, 2005). It is important to note that qualitative research does not produce universal truths, but it can, in context, provide a much more detailed analysis than quantitative research: ‘The qualitative researcher uses a lens that brings a narrow strip of the field of vision into very precise focus’ (McCracken, 1998: p16). In this project, I have used image analysis to ascertain if the theories outlined above apply in the genre of fashion pho-


Tim Walker

Revival magazine

tography I am exploring. For example, do Walker’s photographs employ the socially constructed language system of myth that Barthes describes in Mythologies and if so, what do they reveal about the signs and symbols of ‘Britishness’ and heritage in contemporary culture? Do Aroch, Bellemere and Leder’s images conform to Jameson’s descriptions of pastiche and nostalgia? If so, is this a symptom of a postmodern loss of identity and history? Or, is it what Samuel describes as ‘retro-chic’, which has the ability to ‘bring paintings to life and create...a whole gallery of flesh-and-blood characters’? (Samuel, 1996: p114).

The scope of this research was deliberately more expansive than that applied to the theoretical work (for example by including post-colonialist debates), in order to produce sufficient diversity within the magazine.

Developing a visual response

Mood boards were developed to identify the aesthetics and techniques appropriate to each concept and a team of collaborators (photographers, make-up artists, models) was recruited for each shoot based on these. I then proceeded to apply post-production techniques (where appropriate) to the photography, identify and apply a suitable graphic style and produce the lay-outs for the magazine.

The research outlined above was used construct a number of concepts for fashion stories. These ranged from the softfocus retro aesthetic employed by photographers such as Aroch and Bellemere, to a nostalgic representation of the British ‘explorer’, as is sometimes evidenced in Walker’s work4.

I recorded some of the ideas, research and processes involved in the form of an online blog5 as part of my personal and professional development (PPD) . The blog is not a digital version of the magazine, but rather a tool to record and reflect on the experience of producing my Final Major Independent Project.

4 Like many of his photographs taken in England, Walker’s shoots abroad, such as Lily Takes a Trip, shot in India, and To the Ends of the Earth shot in Papua New Guinea, present an idyllic representation of these countries that appears to be rooted in the past. ‘As a family we never travelled, so my concept of travel and faraway places came from books. Everything seemed very exotic.’ (Walker in Loveday, 2008).

5 Please see ‘Arcadia’ was a working title for the magazine when I started the blog. The title was later changed to ‘Revival’.



LITERATURE REVIEW The theories as outlined in the introduction are interrelated, but at the same time, wide ranging and complex. I have therefore categorised my main areas of concern below:

British Identity, Heritage and the Nostalgic Gaze

Tim Walker and Fashion Photography

There is a significant amount of literature within cultural studies on British identities in general, much of which focuses on post-colonial theory. However, as this is not my primary area of investigation, I have referred more to texts concerning nostalgia and the notion of a constructed image of the national past, such as Theatres of Memory by historian Raphael Samuel.

My initial research began with literature on the constructs and semiotics of fashion photography, such as Eugenie Shinkle’s Fashion as Photograph, in addition to discourse on photography as a medium, language or narrative, such as Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida, and John Berge’s Ways of Seeing, 2008. The limited range of texts that exists concerning Walker’s photography includes an article by fashion archivist Robin Muir (in Walker. T. Pictures, 2008) and interviews by Charlotte Sinclair (British Vogue) and Penny Martin (Showstudio). The first two are particularly relevant as they examine Walker’s representation of ‘Britishness’ and the themes of nostalgia in his work.


Samuel argues that rather than a symptom of national decay, the British obsession with heritage is the result of ‘an expanding historical culture, one which is newly alert to the evidence of the visual and which is altogether more pluralist than earlier versions of the national past’ (publisher’s statement in Samuel, 1994). Although a number of books have been written about this in relation to film, there is most certainly a gap in terms of literature concerning contemporary fashion photography and the idea of a British heritage aesthetic. Even Samuel, whose book covers trends such as ‘retro-chic’ does not address this.


Tim Walker

Samuel argues that the British obsession with heritage is the result of ‘an expanding historical culture, one which is newly alert to the evidence of the visual’. (Samuel, 1996) His chapters on photography focus on the dreamscapes and scopophilia in old photographs rather than contemporary ones.

Semiotics & Postmodernism Roland Barthes’ Mythologies provides a good starting point for exploring the semiotics of both Walker’s work and the movement typified by photographers such as Aroch, Bellemere and Leder. He argues that myths are social constructs, means of communication (in any form of ‘language’, includ-

ing photography1) rather than objects in their own rights (Barthes, 1972). In texts such as Simulacra and Simulation, Jean Baudrillard takes this further by proposing that we now live in a ‘hyperreality’ where the ‘media-saturated consciousness is in such a state of fascination with image and spectacle that the concept of meaning itself...dissolves.’ (Kellner:1994, pp7-9). Other useful texts include Postmodernism by Frederic Jameson. As well as the replacement of personal identity and history with nostalgia and pastiche, he attributes to postmodernism fragmented texts in the form of collage (Jameson: 1991, pp71-76) and the ‘hysterical sublime’ where our inability to depict that which is beyond our understanding results in a sort of ‘Gothic rapture’ (Jameson: 1991: p76). Jean-Francois Lyotard’s Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime explores the concept of the sublime as art’s ability to present the ‘unpresentable’ and in particular, his definition of the 1 ‘Myth is a type of speech chosen by history...Speech of this kind is a message. It is therefore by no means confined to oral speech. It can consist of modes of writing or of representations; not only written discourse, but also photography, cinema, reporting, sport, shows, publicity, all these can serve as a support to mythical speech.’ (Barthes, 2000: p110).



Tim Walker



Guy Aroch

sublime in postmodern art as ‘jubilation’ and in modern art as ‘nostalgia’ (Lyotard: 1994).


Nostalgia Studies

The most comprehensive text I have found focusing on ‘porno-chic’ in fashion photography is Brian McNair’s Striptease Culture, which examines a number of feminist, post-feminist and other viewpoints on the subject. Other key texts consulted include Susan Jeffrey’s Beauty and Misogyny and Andrea Dworkin’s Pornography: Men Possessing Women.

A number of texts have been useful in exploring the concept of nostalgia as a cultural or collective, as well as individual, concept. These texts challenge the post-modernist view of nostalgia presented by Jameson and range from Fred Davis’s Yearning for Yesterday: A Sociology of Nostalgia, published in 1972, to Christine Sprengler’s Screening Nostalgia: Populuxe Props and Technicolour Aesthetics in Contemporary American Film, from 2009. Paul Grainge’s Monochrome Memories: Nostalgia and Style in Retro America, which examines the revival of black and white retro imagery in America in the 1990s, has been particularly helpful. Although it explores a trend that took place two decades ago, it is the text I have found most relevant to this project in that it examines nostalgia as an aesthetic style within photography and also from the perspective of constructed national memory.





THE NOSTALGIC GAZE 1.1 Nostalgia Theory Nostalgia, from the Greek nostos (return home) and algos (pain), was a term conceived by Swiss physician Johannas Hofer in 1688 to describe the acute homesickness that soldiers experienced when fighting abroad, which he diagnosed as a disease (Grainge, 2002; Sprengler, 2009). Over time, the definition of nostalgia has shifted from a medical ailment to a psychological malady, and then to a more universally experienced sentiment or emotion. Its meaning in popular language and culture has also changed from a yearning for a certain place (or homesickness) to a longing for a time and place or simply a particular time (Grainge, 2002). It can be a collective and cultural, as well as an individual, phenomena, that ‘can serve the purpose of forging a national identity, expressing patriotism. It also might reflect selective remembering and selective forgetting that occur at the collective level. Nostalgia oozes out of our popular culture.’ (Wilson, 2005: p31). The fact that the term nostalgia was still being used to describe a psychosomatic condition as late as the middle of the

last century (Grainge, 2002) suggests that our contemporary understanding of the word is a relatively new one, and its current meaning could therefore be particular to post-modern cultures. According to Paul Grainge, it was from the early 1970s that nostalgia ‘became a routine keyword...for the capaciously sentimental and variously commodified past.’ (Grainge, 2002: p20). At this time, contemporary theorists generally regarded it as a negative development, which they associated with ‘distortion and regression’ and attributed to ‘dislocations caused by the 1960s and the ensuing search for stability, a growing media culture feeding upon its own creations, and the broad commodification of memory within film, fashion, architectural design and the heritage industry. Nostalgia was a sentiment but also a growing style.’ (Grainge, 2002: p20). It was Fred Davis’s Yearning for Yesterday: A Sociology of Nostalgia, published in 1979 that first attempted an in-depth constructive study of collective nostalgia as ‘a lens that “we employ in the never-ending work of constructing, maintaining and reconstructing our identities.” (Davis in Grainge, 2002: p24).



Levi’s ‘Go Forth’ campaign

1.2 The Nostalgia Mode This dissertation is primarily concerned with nostalgia as an aesthetic style. Grainge distinguishes this as mode as opposed to mood. He defines the nostalgia mood as the theoretical understanding of nostalgia as a ‘socio-cultural response to forms of discontinuity, claiming a vision of stability and authenticity in some conceptual “golden age”. This approximates to the conventional sense of nostalgia as a yearning.’ (Grainge, 2002: p21). In contrast, the nostalgia mode, a theory offered by Fredric Jameson, ‘articulates a concept of style, a representational effect with implications for our cultural experience of the past...As a commodified style, the nostalgia mode has developed, principally within postmodern theory, a theoretical association with amnesia. When authenticity and time have themselves become victims of postmodern speed, space, and simulacra, forms of stylized nostalgia have been framed in relation to an incumbent memory crisis.’ (Grainge, 2002: p21). While the two are not mutually exclusive, ‘Nostalgic sen-


timents in social life can, of course, be related to nostalgic styles in cultural production,’ Grainge stresses that ‘as a cultural style, nostalgia has become divorced in contemporary culture from a necessary concept of loss.’ (Grainge, 2002, pp21-22). For example, in the 1970s and 1980s there was a prolonged wave of nostalgia within popular culture for 1950s Americana, from independent films such as Badlands to blockbusters such as Grease and Back to the Future to the unprecedented success of the Levi’s 501 jeans advertisements1. A pair of 501s, Converse plimsolls and an American baseball jacket for a time became de rigeur for a generation of British teenagers that had neither experienced life in the 1950s nor had any direct cultural ties with America. ‘Research showed 1 ‘In Britain, the turning point came in 1985, when Levi’s “Laundrette” – a retro ad. for the company’s classic 501s, featuring Nick Kamen’s retro boxer shorts and Martin Gaye’s immortal “I heard it Through the Grapevine” – was broadcast for the first time and sent sales rocketing by 800%’ (Brown, S. 2001: p7). It is interesting to note Levi’s use of nostalgia and Americana in a more recent advertising campaign, ‘Go Forth’, in 2009. The images used were intended to ‘invoke the heritage of the brand, which dates to the California gold rush.’ (Sweeny, D. Quoted in Elliott, S. 2009).


Still from ‘Badlands’

that the intended target audience for Levi’s 501s - 15 to 19-year-olds - saw the United States of the fifties and sixties as a cool time and place in history. ‘ (Robinson, M. 2000). However, my purpose is not to conduct an examination of retro fashion trends, which have been explored in depth in texts such as Samuel’s Theatres of Memory. I seek here to

examine a movement within contemporary fashion photography towards a distinctly nostalgic style. This particular movement is concerned with the aesthetics and techniques of photography preceding the digital era and also frequently references a concept of a national past. In the following chapter, I will explore this aesthetic in terms of Tim Walker’s work and its representation of British heritage.

‘At first glance, nostalgia is a longing for a place, but actually it is a yearning for a different time – the time of our childhood, the slower rhythms of our dreams. In a broader sense, nostalgia is rebellion against the modern idea of time, the time of history and progress. The nostalgic desires to revisit time like space, refusing to surrender to the irreversibility of time that plagues the human condition.’ (Boym, S. 2001: p22) 19


TIM WALKER’S BRITAIN In Mythologies, Roland Barthes asserts that ‘myth is a type of speech, everything can be a myth provided it is conveyed by a discourse. Myth is not defined by the object of its message, but by the way in which it utters this message.’ (Barthes, 2000: p109). Although the bowler hat has not been a part of standard city dress code for several decades1, we somehow instinctively know that the city gent wearing in a bowler connotes ‘Englishness’ or ‘Britishness’. Does this symbol of Britishness therefore constitute a myth? What is it about Walker’s work that signifies ‘British’ to the viewer and could this connotation of national identity also be identified as a myth, in Barthes’ sense of the term? For the purpose of examining the potential for mythologies within Walker’s work, we might return to ‘Land Girl’, the first shoot he photographed for British Vogue in 1996. On the suggestion of Fashion Editor Lucinda Chambers, Walker shot British aristocratic model Iris Palmer and her brother at his mother’s house in Dorset. ‘She just told me to photo1 According to the Museum of London ‘By the 1960s this formal look had begun to disappear and by the 1980s the bowler hat was seen only rarely on the City streets.’ (Source:


graph her as if she was one of my old ladies or the farmer next door,’ (Walker in Sinclair, 2008).

Sinclair describes the shoot as ‘lovely, all teenage moodiness and Mitford girl-goes-wild-inthe-country.’ (Sinclair, 2008) In this, his first major shoot, we can already see some of the motifs that Walker goes on to use frequently in his later work. There is the Union Jack, an ‘iconic’ sign of national identity, which as defined by Barthes can only have one clear meaning (Barthes, 1967), but beyond this there are the ‘motivated’ signs laden with connotations, such as housecoats worn outdoors, name tags sewn into blazers and bath tubs abandoned in fields. They connote a particular type of Britishness, one that perhaps belongs to a previous era rather than representing a contemporary national identity.


Tim Walker

Sinclair describes the shoot as ‘lovely, all teenage moodiness and Mitford girl-goes-wild-in-the-country’ (Sinclair, 2008). The appeal of such bucolic imagery is often attributed to the transformation of ‘the western world from a settled agrarian society into an itinerant urban one, with the consequent loss of rural rootedness, community spirit and sense of place.’ This ‘ersatz rusticity’ therefore offers ‘a welcome glimpse of Gemeinshaft2 for agitated, animated, asphyxiated city slickers.’ (Brown, 2001: p11). If ‘Land Girl’ conjures up images of the pre-war youthful innocence and eccentric lifestyles of the now near-extinct landed gentry of Nancy Mitford’s set, then Walker’s later work builds upon this theme. For example, in his 2005 shoot for Casa Vogue, entitled ‘Being British’, the stately country house, fox hunters, wellington boots, vintage cars and iron bedsteads are brought together to represent a quintessentially British identity to an Italian audience. 2 ‘Gemeinshaft’ is a term conceived by German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies in 1887 to define rural societies where traditional social mores and a sense of community are prioritised over personal relationships. (Tönnies, S. 2002).

Together with the fields and orchards of the English countryside, the stately home is a reoccurring backdrop in Walker’s work. This might be what Patrick Wright, in A Journey Through Ruins, calls the ‘Brideshead Complex’, or the ‘post-war cult of the country house’. For Wright, this has been one of the most influential products of British culture since it began as a reactionary counter-attack to post-war socialism and the welfare state. It was epitomised in Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited, which ‘treated the country house not as a dead relic but as a potent symbol of everything that was threatened by modernization and reform,’ and ‘paid its tribute to a superior and traditional England, idealized and saluted at the moment of extinction.’ (Wright, 2009: pp57-72). However, Samuel would argue strongly against this point. He counters that there is no evidence to support a claim that a ‘country-house, or Brideshead, view of national past’ is hegemonic. On the contrary, one could see the advent of heritage ‘as part of a sea-change in attitudes which has left any unified view of the national past - liberal, radical or Conservative - in tatters. Culturally it is pluralist.’ (Samuel, 1996: p281).



The country house as depicted by Walker is often in a state of near ruin, which only heightens its romanticism. For, as Wright explains, ‘the preserved country house came to depend on a pervasive sense of threat for its own clarity of definition.’ (Wright, 2009: p61). Although Walker says that he simply likes ‘capturing stuff that is disappearing – that’s the point of photography’ (Walker in Sinclair, 2008), Samuel argues that ‘It is a deeply British concern of remembering the past as a somehow better place. A lost innocence. A conviction that the best is somehow over.’ (Samuel, 1994: p296). However, Walker states ‘I am not saying through the nostalgia of my pictures that everything was better before...I’m trying to take a timeless picture that doesn’t belong to any era.’ (Walker in Sinclair, 2008).

mythology of British national identity, which heritage critics might claim is ‘sanitized so as to exclude any disturbing elements’ (Samuel, 1996: p17), there is also a tension in his work. The iron bedstead balances precariously on top of the vintage car rather than in the bedroom, the stately home is adorned with a rainbow of painted ladders or balloons, the abandoned tennis match appears to have taken place inside a morning room and the fox hunters and their hounds tear through a giant poster of themselves. There is normally an incongruous element and a level of fantasy rather than any attempt to faithfully recreate the past. If Walker was trying to faithfully recreate a pre-war Britain in ‘Land Girl’, for example, how could one explain the inclusion of a plastic margarine tub in one still life?

Of the straw boaters, striped deck chairs, tennis matches and cricket bats in ‘Being British’, Walker explains that he was ‘just cutting and pasting various British icons together to create a montage of pure Britishness...These photographs are rather romantic visions of an England past.’ (Walker in Muir, 2008: p9).

Walker describes photography as ‘like cooking in a way – a bit of memory with a bit of something that you’ve seen on a film, together with something you’ve read in a book, and then a certain colour. And you mix it up to create a new picture.’ (Walker in Sinclair, 2008).

While Walker could be accused of presenting a rose tinted


From a postmodernist point of view, this would be considered pastiche. ‘Characterized by what Jameson calls an “ir-


Tim Walker

rational eclecticism”, pastiche is no longer a coherent style grounded in the referent of historical reality, but rather the illogical and random borrowing of codes which simulate a variety of historical moments themselves.’ (Easthope, A & McGowan, K. 1992: p254). The result is an ‘impeded ability to represent our own time and locate our own place in history’ (Jameson in Dika, 2003: p2). According to Jameson, this loss of history mirrors the same anxiety felt in Western cultures after the cultural shifts and dislocation of the industrial age, when people longed to return to a slower, simpler way of life (Jameson, 1991). Fashion archivist Robin Muir, an enthusiast of Walker’s work, would agree with the latter point, ‘Such introspection...happens in times of uncertainty. Well, perhaps, we’re in dark hours now: Spiralling acts of destruction appear commonplace, so too inhumanitarian gestures, the repression of basic human rights...and, as one commentator recently put it, “the sickness of our popular media.” Is it any wonder that the brightest among us look backwards?’ (Muir, 2008: p9). Samuel, conversely, argues that this kind of representation is not symptomatic of a contemporary disillusionment

but simply a feature of ‘popular memory’, which he claims ‘prefers the eccentric to the typical; the sensational to the routine.’ (Samuel, 1996: p6). Unlike the history of the professional historian, which ‘is apt to present itself as an esoteric form of knowledge’ (Samuel, 1996: p3), the aesthetics of popular memory ‘could be described as polyglot, drawing in one register from the quotidian and the familiar, while in another playing with the Gothic and the uncanny.’ (Samuel, 1996: p282). Certainly, there is no attempt to disguise the elements of fantasy, theatricality or humour in Walker’s work. ‘I know that the world I am painting is not a reality. It is a whim, an entertainment to provoke something in people, whether as escapism or relief. I think that is very valid.’ (Walker in Sinclair, 2008). In the final chapter of this dissertation, I explore the trend for contemporary fashion photography that not only references the past, as does Walker’s work, but in addition recreates or simulates the aesthetic of photographs taken almost three decades earlier.



THE ‘NEW WAVE’ IN RETRO-CHIC In Monocrome Memories: Nostalgia and Style in Retro America, Paul Grainge examines the resurgence and popularity of black and white images in advertising, magazines, and Hollywood films in the 1990s. When his study was published in 2002, this type of retro aesthetic had become prevalent in the media. Since then, digital photography (and the myriad post-processing techniques that accompany it) has become the generic medium of choice in stills advertising and fashion publishing. In this dissertation, I propose the theory that a current movement in filmic techniques in fashion photography is a reaction to the digital age and nostalgia for a time when the photographic image was perceived to be more ‘real’ than it is today.

3.1 Guy Aroch, David Bellemere and Jonathan Leder A new generation of successful fashion photographers are employing techniques to create a ‘retro-idyllic’ style, characterized by faded colours, low contrast and exaggerated warm tones. Add to this flares, double exposures, blurring of focus, splashes of colours and tints and you get a look reminiscent of old plastic cameras such as the Holga, which


leaks light onto the film due to cheap construction, and expired film stock, which creates colour shifts. The imperfections and relative unpredictability afforded by these analog mediums connote a level of ‘authenticity’, of a ‘moment’ caught on film. They mark a departure from the increasingly airbrushed images of ‘perfection’, such as those of Steven Meisel1, which have dominated fashion advertising and editorial for more than two decades. New York photographer Jonathan Leder achieves this by only shooting on Polaroid or medium format film. ‘I really don’t care at all for digital. I like things to be analog and approachable.’ (Leder in Snidjers, 2008: p5). However, there are so many modern technological tools to recreate this look without using film2 that it can become hard to tell if the effect was accidental or intentional, a result of the medium used (if analog) or added in post production. 1 ‘Meisel’s work is controlled, graphic, idealized, strangely beautiful, provocative, and always artificial...Editors loved his perfectionism.’ (Gross, 1992: pp30-35). 2 For example, cross processing and layer and blending modes in Photoshop, Lensbaby systems (a range of selective focus lenses that create a similar effect to vintage film cameras, e.g. pin hole) and i-phone Hipstamatic applications.


David Bellemere

Guy Aroch

For example, in my own practical work for this project, I have produced shoots that create a similar look through the use of available light, styling and locations, while in others, I have digitally manipulated photographs to to imitate the vignetting and colour distortions of Polaroid film.

Why then has a new generation turned a nostalgic eye on an era that was already nostalgic4, and in a time of economic recession, why choose to reminisce about a decade of severe global economic downturn and instability5?

3.2 The Soft Focus Seventies The look epitomised by the work of Aroch, Bellemere and Leder is evocative of a 1970s aesthetic and there is also often a distinctly American feel to the work, i.e..... nostalgia for a 1970s Americana. As previously mentioned, the 1970s is attributed as the time when nostalgia became a dominant aesthetic style in the USA, and in particular nostalgia for the 1950s3. This has been explained in film and other cultural theory as a response to the social upheavals of the 1960s and early 1970s, such as the Kennedy assassination, the Viet Nam War and Watergate, and a longing for a time of ‘innocence’ prior to these national traumas. (Dika, 2003, Grainge, 2002, Sprengler, 2009). 3 ‘One tends to feel that for Americans at least, the 1950s remains the privileged lost object of desire – not merely the stability and prosperity of a Pax Americana but also the first naive innocence of the countercultural impulses of early rock and roll and youth gangs.’ (Jameson, 1991: p19).

Is it that the image of the 1970s that these photographs convey is an imagined one? That is to say that ‘the image returns not as representational of the natural real, but as simulacral, as a copy of copies whose original has been lost. A play of references is thus engendered, one now highly coded with pastness.’ (Dika, 2003: p3). Perhaps it is an example of Jameson’s ‘nostalgia mode’ outlined above, i.e. it is concerned with the aesthetics of a time rather than representing a genuine longing to return to a period in one’s individual or collective past. In addition, I would argue that the postmodern viewer of these texts is aware of mythologies within them and is in fact instrumental in helping to create them. 4 Brown classifies this as ‘neo-nostalgia’ or ‘repro de luxe’, which ‘comprises revived revivals, nostalgia for nostalgia itself and state of the art reproductions of past state of the art reproductions of the past.’ (Brown, 2001: p8). 5 The Financial Times describes the economy of the 1970s as being ‘truly in meltdown’ and close to ‘a political and financial abyss’. (Beachey, A: 2010).



From Revival magazine

Evaan Kheraj

According to Brown, ‘the rise of retro is a direct reflection of customer preferences’ (Brown, 2001: p10) and Samuel argues that the popularity of retro-chic of the 1970s was a result of female emancipation and increased spending power, the ‘rise of gay culture’ and that it catered to the ‘alternative consumerism of the counter-culture’ (Samuel, 1996: pp98-109). He explains that the ‘leading aesthetic...of the 70’s was one of warmth, softness and enclosure; a feminine rather than a masculine style...a distinct hankering for dreamscapes.’ (Samuel, 1996: p59).

oid, Holga and Lomo cameras within consumer culture, to the extent that big corporations such as Apple have developed software enabling customers to take retro-looking photographs using the latest digital applications on their iphones7. Now anyone is able to take an image in the present that presents itself as one taken in the past.

The current retro-idyllic style mirrors this warmth and softness and has become so established that it is now part of the mainstream (Aroch, for example, is a regular contributor to British Harper’s Bazaar and David Bellemere frequently shoots for Italian Marie Claire). It can now be seen in advertising as well as editorial, and even in films6. It is possible then that this current revival of filmic aesthetics represents a consumer driven stylistic shift from the sleek, glossy and ‘airbrushed’ image? The trend has inspired (or perhaps was inspired by) a renewed enthusiasm for Polar6 For example, 500 Days of Summer, from 2009 is set in modern day America but is stylistically reminiscent of films from the late 1970s


This concept would seem to correlate closely with the Baudrillard’s idea of simulacra and hyperreality, but as Samuel argues, the ‘way in which retro-chic does seem to differ from earlier forms of the absence of sentimentality of the past...It does not feel obliged to stay true to period; on the contrary, it is never happier than when turning the oldfashioned into the up-to-date.’ (Samuel, 1996: p102).

3.2 Soft Focus = Soft-core? Developing alongside the trend for nostalgic, soft focus fashion imagery is a trend for a nostalgic form of ‘porno-chic’, a 7 According to Apple, the Hipstamatic i-phone application ‘brings back the look, feel, unpredictable beauty, and fun of plastic toy cameras of the past. The Hipstamatic keeps the quirks of shooting old school but gives you the ability to swap lenses, film, and flash settings all with the swipe of a finger. Digital photography has never looked so analog.’ (Source: http://


Guy Aroch

term used by both Jeffreys (2005) and McNair (2002) to describe fashion imagery that borrows from pornographic conventions. Porno-chic is not a new concept and neither is the frequent use of nudity in fashion photography8, but what is pertinent to this study is its new manifestation in a nostalgic form. The genre of photography which Aroch, Bellemere and, in particular, Leder appear to typify often employs poses, styling and references which appear to owe more to 1970s soft-core pornography, such as the film Emmanuelle9, adult magazines such as Oui and photographers/film makers such as David Hamilton, than fashion photography from the same era.

Jacques, S and Purple Sexe10, has emerged in recent years, using a similar nostalgic aesthetic to the aforementioned fashion photography, albeit in a more explicit form.

Simultaneously, a new genre of ‘erotic’ magazines, such as

Is this representation further evidence of a departure from the highly retouched digital image and a rejection of the plastic surgery culture within both soft and hard-core mainstream pornography? Its purveyors would argue that it provides a more realistic and less degrading depiction of women and a more authentic representation of sexuality11, whilst others might argue that this is simply another mythology created to give a level of kudos and legitimacy to pornography by jumping on the bandwagon of a popular genre within contemporary fashion photography12?

8 As Jeffreys points out, ‘one way in which fashion advertising is following pornography is that nakedness is becoming de rigeur… (Jeffreys, 2005). Jeffreys puts this down to an attempt by designers and photographers to secure more media attention (Jeffreys, 2005). Other feminists, such as Susan Faludi, have explained it as a possible ‘backlash’ against feminism and the ‘new man’ of the 1980s (McNair 2002). However, McNair argues that the sexualisation of popular culture may reflect the ‘democratization of desire’ and a more ‘pluralistic sexual culture’, in that it challenges the patriarchal view of women as sexless (McNair, 2002: p15). 9 It is perhaps interesting to note that the first Emmanuelle film was directed by fashion photographer Just Jaeckin and that some of the subsequent sequels were directed by another fashion photographer Francis Giacobetti (Cox. A, 2000).

10 It is worth mentioning that Purple Sexe is an off shoot of Purple fashion magazine, which has become well known for frequent nudity and risqué editorials, and that Leder is the lead photographer for Jacques magazine. 11 Jacques bills itself as ‘a modern reimagining of the classic men’s magazines of yesteryear. We celebrate a return to the origins of the pulp title; offering...unparalleled pictorials illustrating the real beauty of real women.’ (Source: 12 Susan Jeffreys argues that ‘unglamorous pornography gains a glamorous edge through its association with fashion’ and that the ‘pornographizing of fashion photography...makes looking as if you work in the sex industry chic and thereby helps sex industrialists by normalizing their business of the international traffic in women.’ (Jeffreys, 2005).


HUMA HUMAYUN: HUM03099289 It is hard to determine if this form of pornography or erotica is being influenced by the fashion photography or vice versa or if, in fact, that the two are mutually referencing each other. If pornography is to ‘be understood as a “regime of representation”, a genre assembled out of certain combinations of camera angles and lighting, bodily postures, apparel, footwear and the like’ (Baldwin et al, 1999: p298), then it could be argued that the genres of pornography and fashion photography have become blurred. What, if anything, differentiates this type of fashion photography from pornography at all, other than a higher budget and production values? Brian McNair (2002) argues that ‘porno-chic’ as we know it is a phenomenon that emerged in the 1990s and that it is not actual pornography but an appropriation of its conventions within mainstream culture, which is frequently retro in its styling, but also much more glossy and appealing to mainstream audiences than actual pornography.

He explains this reference to pornography as a pastiche – a knowing, ironic nod to something we understand is outdated and yet has become imbued with the status of cool (McNair, 2002). It could be argued that retro-chic could be defined in a similar way, and therefore the combination of retro-chic with porno-chic has a double dosage of this ‘cool’ factor. McNair (2002) attributes the emergence of porno-chic to a number of factors, including the rapid increase in communication technologies, particularly the internet, which have made pornography much more accessible and, therefore, less likely to shock. However, could it be the case that in a society where increasingly hard-core imagery is prolific and easily available via the internet, there exists a nostalgia for a time when pornography was only available on the top shelf of newsagents or in bookstores with darkened windows, or indeed was considered ‘soft’ enough to be shown in mainstream cinemas, as was the case with Emmanuelle? (Cox, 2000).

CONCLUSION At the start of this project, I set out to explore the work of Tim Walker. I wanted to know why the nostalgic atmosphere in his work held such an appeal and also what made it so quintessentially ‘British’. This immediately brought up the question of heritage as part of British identity, and the question of why as a nation we so strongly identify with signifiers of a national past. In short, I wanted to examine the potential for mythologies within his work. A closer semiotic analysis of his photography demonstrated that there were indeed mythologies within it; ‘motivated’ signs that connoted an image of Britishness both firmly rooted in the past, but also of a British past that perhaps never quite existed. Walker himself recognises this element within his work, but feels that the role of fashion photography is to present fantasy rather than reality, and to provoke a reaction in the reader. His representations of an imagined past, constructed from both iconic and motivated signs and signifiers drawn from many eras, correspond very closely to postmodernists’ ideas of pastiche. However, while Jameson might argue that this represents a loss of history and a form of shizophrenia, the


tension and element of surrealism in his images perhaps prevent the reader from interpreting them as ‘natural’ rather than fantasy. In addition, pastiche is not necessarily a symptom of cultural decay. As Samuel argues, popular memory has always ‘preferred the eccentric to the typical; the sensational to the routine’ (Samuel, 1996: p6), and this melange of the ‘quotidian and the familiar’ with the ‘Gothic and uncanny’, demonstrates a more pluralist culture (Samuel, 1996: p282) and one that is more visually alert (Samuel, 1996: p37). My research, both in terms of reading and image analysis, and indeed in using these to inform my own practice, led me to examine the role of nostalgia and national identity in a broader context within contemporary fashion photography. This highlighted a growing trend for what I came to call the ‘retro-idyllic lens’, an aesthetic that is at once both retrospective and idealised, and helped to identify a school of photographers at the forefront of this movement, including Guy Aroch and David Bellemere. Like Walker, these photographers choose to shoot on film.

70% THEORY/30% PRACTICAL OPTION The qualities of imperfection and instability afforded by this medium are exaggerated, thereby reproducing a simulacra of soft focus, warm coloured photography from the 1970s, a period which has been identified as a time of significant nostalgia ((Dika, 2003, Grainge, 2002, Sprengler, 2009). By imitating the aesthetic s of imagery from the 1970s rather than presenting a faithful copy of a historical reality, this style corresponds with Baudrillard’s concept of the simulacra and simulation, a copy of a copy where the original has been lost (Baudrillard, 2006).

exploration. I chose, for example, to investigate post-colonialist discourses in my practical element but not to explore it further within the theoretical enquiry. This is a subject I feel cannot be divorced altogether from discourses on British heritage and nostalgia, nor indeed on American, but needs much more room than this dissertation affords for an appropriately nuanced argument. It is perhaps an area that would be worthy of further investigation should one wish to broaden this study into the wider concept of representation within fashion photography.

However, these photographers are not concerned with historical accuracy, but rather with an aesthetic style, which while corresponding to Jameson’s notion of the nostalgia mode, presents a more approachable reality to the digitally manipulated images of recent decades and does not indulge in sentimentality for the era it evokes.

I also believe that an in-depth analysis of Tim Walker’s work is overdue. The publication of his anthology in 2008 was a starting point, but I would like to see him included in broader debates on contemporary fashion photography as a significant contributor to the genre. Perhaps this study could act as a beginning for such an investigation, or at least add to the current literature on Walker, of which there is a paucity, and be of some help to a researcher wishing to embark on an extended analysis.

It became apparent that this genre also references 1970s soft-core pornography. On further investigation into the subject, I came to the conclusion that this was due to a combination of factors. The first is the generic growth in ‘porno-chic’ within fashion photography as identified by Jeffreys and McNair. The second is the notion of pornochic as pastiche, where ironic references to pornography, coupled with retro styling and high production values, distinguish the fashion photograph from actual pornography but imbue it with a status of ‘cool’ (McNair, 2002). The third echoes the point above that these photographers are rejecting the digitally manipulated image and, so it could be argued, presenting a more realistic alternative to mainstream soft-core pornography.

Finally, I believe that the subject of nostalgia has sufficient breadth and depth to justify the existence of a magazine exploring it in a visual medium on an ongoing basis, whether in the form of further issues of Revival magazine or in another manifestation. If this is not something that I take forward, I hope that it would provide a useful point of reference for other practitioners that do. End. 7063 words

All of the themes and ideas above have been applied to my practical work, together with other concepts concerning representations of nostalgia and heritage. In maintaining a synthesis between the two throughout the project, I have been able to re-contextualise the theoretical discourses in my practical work and thereby develop a greater awareness of the signs and signifiers within it. In turn, the experience of applying these theories in practice has enabled me to revisit the theoretical work with a deeper understanding of the constructs of fashion photography. For example, it was particularly through my practical exploration that I identified the prevalence of soft focus nostalgic imagery outlined above. Due to the time restraints within a project of this nature, much has been left unexplored or deserves further



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Berger, J. (2008) Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Classics. Bhaskaran, L. And Raimes, J. (2007) Retro Graphics: A Visual Sourcebook to 100 Years of Graphic Design. Cambridge: Ilex. Brown, S. (2001) Marketing: The Retro Revolution. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Boswell, D. And Evans, J. {eds} (1999) Representing the Nation: A Reader: Histories, Heritage and Museums. London/New York: Routledge.


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70% THEORY/30% PRACTICAL OPTION Gross, M (1992) ‘Madonna’s Magician: How Lensman Steven Meisel, the Cat in the Hat, Makes Things Click’ from New York Magazine. 12 October 1992, pp28-36. Higson, A. (2003) English Heritage, English Cinema: Costume Drama Since 1980. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Jameson, F. (1991) Postmodernism, of, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. North Carolina: Duke University Press. Jeffreys, S. (2005) ‘Pornochic – Prostitution Constructs Beauty’ from Beauty and Misogyny, New York and London: Routledge, pp 67-86 Jobling, P. (1999) Fashion Spreads: Word and Image in Fashion Photography Since 1980. New York/Oxford: Berg. Kellner, D. {ed.} [1994) Baudrillard: A Critical Reader. Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd. Loveday, D. (2008) Interview with Tim Walker at the Design Museum. 7th July 2008. Available at: http://www.dezeen. com/2008/07/07/tim-walker-at-the-design-museum-podcast-interview/ Lyotard, J. (1994) Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime: Kant’s Critique of Judgement. California: Stanford University Press. Malpas, S. (2003) Jean-François Lyotard. London/New York: Routledge. Martin, P. (2009). In Fashion: Interview with Tim Walker. 3 June 2009 (approx 15 minutes). Available at: http://www. McCracken, G. (1998) The Long Interview: Qualitative Research Methods. California: Sage Publications Inc. McKee, A. (2005) Textual Analysis: A Beginner’s Guide. California: Sage Publications Inc. McNair, B. (2002) Striptease Culture. London & New York: Routledge Monk, C. & Sargeant, A. {eds.} (2002) British Historical Cinema: the History, Heritage and Costume Film. London/New York: Routledge. Muir, R. (2008) ‘Paradise Regained’ in Walker, T. Pictures. Kempen: Imprint/teNeues. Radstone, S. (2007) The Sexual Politics of Time: Confession, Nostalgia, Memory. Oxon/New York: Routledge. Richards, J. (1997) Films and British National Identity: from Dickens to Dad’s Army. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Robinson, M. (2000) The Sunday Times 100 Greatest TV Ads. London: Harper Collins. Samuel, R. (1996) Theatres of Memory. London/New York: Verso.

Shinkle, E. {ed.} (2008) Fashion as Photograph: Viewing and Reviewing Images of Fashion. London: I. B. Tauris & Co Ltd. Silverman, H. (2002) Lyotard: Philosophy, Politics and the Sublime. London/New York: Routledge. Sinclair, C. (2008) Interview with Tim Walker. Vogue. UK. May 2008. Snidjers, J. (2008) ‘Girls on Fim’ in I Love Fake magazine. Summer 2008 page 4. Sontag, S. (1979) On Photography. London: Penguin Books Ltd. Sprengler, C. (2009) Screening Nostalgia: Populuxe Props and Technicolour Aesthetics in Contemporary American Film. USA: Berghahn Books. Thompson, G. (1983) ‘Carnival and the Calculable’ in Formations of Pleasure. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Tönnes, F. (2002) Community and Society. Devon: David & Charles. Waldrep, S. (ed.) (2000) The Seventies: The Age of Glitter in Popular Culture. London/New York: Routlege. Walker, T. (2009) ‘The Red Shoes’ in British Vogue, December 2009. Walker, T. (2008) Pictures. Kempen: TeNeues. Walker, T. (2007) ‘Flow Chart: Tim Walker’ in British Vogue, May 2007. Wells, L. (ed) (2004) Photography: A Crititical Introduction. London/New York: Routledge. West, N. (2000) Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia. Virginia: University Press of Virginia. Wilson, J. (2005) Nostalgia: Sanctuary of Meaning. New Jersey: Associated University Presses. Wood, C. (1983) The Pre-Raphaelites. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson. Wright, P. (2009) On Living in an Old Country: The National Past in Contemporary Britian. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wright, P. (2009) A Journey Through Ruins: The Last Days of London. Oxford: Oxford University Press. See also: id342115564?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Front Cover: Guy Aroch for British Harper’s Bazaar, May 2009 Page 3: (Left) ‘Pantomime’ by Tim Walker for British Vogue, December 2004 (Right) ‘Dream and Magic’ by Tim Walker for Vogue Italia, August 2007 Page 4: (Left) ‘White Nights’ by Tim Walker for British Vogue, January 2007

(Right) Guy Aroch for Italian GQ, June 2009

Page 5:

From Revival magazine. Photographer James Brown, Fashion Editor Huma Humayun

Page 7: (Left) ‘The Fashion and the Fantasy’ by Tim Walker for Vogue Italia, June 2009 (Right) ‘Lily Takes a Trip’ by Tim Walker for British Vogue, July 2005 Page 8: (Left) ‘Pantomime’ by Tim Walker for British Vogue, December 2004

(Right) ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ by Tim Walker for British Vogue, December 2008

Page 9:

Guy Aroch for Italian GQ, June 2009

Page 11: (Left) Page from Tim Walker’s scrapbook, from Walker., T. (2008) Pictures (Right) Cover of Revival magazine. Photographer Melissa Jenkins, Fashion Editor Huma Humayun Page 13: ‘Being British’ by Tim Walker for Casa Vogue (Vogue Italia), April 2005 Page 14: ‘White Nights’ by Tim Walker for British Vogue, January 2007


Page 15:

Guy Aroch for Italian GQ, June 2009

Page 18: Advertisement from Levi’s ‘Go Forth’ campaign, 2009 Page 19:

Still from Badlands, Terrance Malik, 1973

Page 21: ‘Land Girl’ by Tim Walker for British Vogue, January 1996 Page 22: (Left) ‘Being British’ by Tim Walker for Casa Vogue (Vogue Italia), April 2005 (Right) ‘England’s Dreaming’ by Tim Walker for British Vogue, August 2006 Page 23: ‘Being British’ by Tim Walker for Casa Vogue (Vogue Italia), April 2005 Page 25:

(Left) Photograph by David Bellemere

(Right) Photograph by Guy Aroch

Page 26:

(Left) From Revival magazine. Photographer Andrea Carter-Bowman, Fashion Editor Huma Humayun

(Right) Photograph by Evaan Kheraj

Page 27:

Guy Aroch for L’Officiel, May 2008

Page 34:

A photograph of my mother taken by my father in the 1970s

Back Cover: Guy Aroch for Nylon magazine, September 2008













36 33


A photograph of my mother, taken by my father in the 1970s

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my course leaders, lecturers and tutors. A special thank you Rachel Velody for sharing her endless knowledge of theory and for the enthusiasm she has shown towards my work; to David Garner for his continuing support as both a lecturer and course tutor, and to Mandeep Ahira and Rob Stevens, for sharing their ideaas and creativity. I would especially like to thank Rob Lakin for his tireless commitment as Course Director and for Sri Lanka, an adventure I will never forget. I am indebted to the colleagues without whose collaborative efforts I could not have produced the fashion editorials in my magazine, in particular James Brown, Keith Clouston and Nicola Hamilton. Thank you to Iwona, a friend whose capacity to listen and to motivate never ceases to amaze me. I would like to thank my family and, in particular, my mother, Sajida Humayun. When the pressures of juggling a career, a degree and a home seemed too much, she was always there to lend a helping hand, whether that meant renewing my car tax or giving the builders a stern talking to. And finally, thank you to Tim Walker for providing the inspiration for this work. This dissertation is dedicated to Sabine, who at the age of one year, shows signs of being far cleverer than I could ever be. Her already voracious appetite for books inspires the hope that one day she will read this dissertation and find it of some interest.




Contemporary Fashion Photography & the Retro-Idyllic Lens  

A dissertation examining nostalgia in contemporary fashion photography. It particularly focuses on the work of Tim Walker, Guy Aroch and Da...

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