"Brett Walker awakens the soul, stirs the mind and challenges you to look harder. If you dare. And you must. Without question a true mastermind of his craft."
Brett Walker is a photographer who could also be described as that most 19th century of figures, an adventurer — albeit one whose adventures follow a trajectory determined by a distinctly late 20th/early 21st century set of cultural and ethical conditions. His background is working class; born in 1962 in the north of England, he was a professional photographer in London by the age of 18, and at 22 he was the only European photographer working in the fashion industry in Tokyo. He spent the 80s living a round-the-clock existence achieving success with integrity in a decade and in a business that worshipped success. The names tell the story – fashion designers such as Yohji Yamamoto; fashion magazines Vogue; i-D; The Face, among others.
Walker was deeply troubled by some of the values he felt were being promoted at the time, and almost unbelievably, packed it all in to become a merchant seaman. There followed extended periods in Angola, Bangkok, and Brazil, working with street kids in conditions of extreme poverty and at considerable personal risk. Walker abandoned fashion photography as a profession, but did not abandon photography — he continued to make pictures, carrying his camera at all times, almost, he now says, as a kind of protection. Walker has made strong ethical decisions about his own life, but the evocative, genre defying photographs he now exhibits as an artist, far from pushing an agenda, ask nothing more of the audience than that they look, honestly.