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Marco Walker: Wanderlust

The now London-based photographer presents his stunning new show of infrared images of ice-capped mountains and golden deserts

Austrian-American Marco Walker was born in London to a family of keen amateur photographers. After school he went to Los Angeles and studied under Paul Jasmin at Art Center College, before moving to San Francisco. He has had an extensive and varied career to date, working with major record labels and fashion brands, but also taking time to develop an impressive personal portfolio. Walker´s latest show “Wanderlust” features infrared photographs of Yosemite National Park in California, and will be held on Wednesday 29th June at the former Germany Embassy on Belgrave Square in London.

Dazed Digital: When were you first introduced to photography?
Marco Walker:
I have always been a big fan of all forms of visual art. My parents would drag me around art galleries when I was little so the interest must have been ingrained in me from an early age. I have a lot to thank them for.

DD: How have your own travels influenced your work?
Marco Walker:
I have been lucky enough to visit many wonderful places, and it seems almost rude not to capture this in my work. The name of my exhibition, “Wanderlust”, describes the desire for travel, freedom and escape.  Nowadays it is difficult to see the world's great landscapes without masses of tourists snapping away on digital cameras. For “Wanderlust” I wanted to recapture the mystery and magnificence of Yosemite, perhaps the most photographed national park in America.

DD: What drew you to Yosemite in particular?
Marco Walker:
When you look up at the mountains, valleys and waterfalls of Yosemite the park feels eerie and otherworldly - almost like part of a lost planet. I feel that maybe this is how the Californian pioneers, panhandlers and adventurers felt when they first laid eyes upon this natural wonder, and I wanted to convey this idea in my photographs.

DD: Why did you use infrared for these particular images?
Marco Walker:
I chose to shoot Yosemite in infrared film to show the park in a new light and to remain faithful to the ordeals and challenges that go along with true wanderlust. It is my own wanderlust that is really at the heart of my work. Most of the iconic photographs of the park have been taken in black and white, and I wanted to do something different. It appealed to me to use infrared because it was a way of shooting in colour whilst retaining the mysticism conveyed in the black and white images.

DD: How do you usually like to shoot?
Marco Walker:
For commercial work I mainly use a digital camera with the flash on. It is a very loose documentary/reportage style which allows me to capture that perfect candid moment. For my own work I prefer to shoot with film and use natural light. Basically I use the two most opposing methods of shooting, but it seems to work well.

DD: You have lived in London, San Francisco and LA - which city do you prefer, and why?
Marco Walker:
I couldn´t pick one – I appreciate all three for different reasons. I love LA for the perfect weather and the freaky and fascinating inhabitants. In San Francisco they have great food, and there is easy access to Lake Tahoe, a place I have shot many times. I have always had a strong affinity with Tahoe. My grandfather built a cabin there in the 1950s which oozes the charm of that era in California. I also love London for the exciting art, music and fashion scenes and the eccentricity of the British people.

DD: As someone who has travelled extensively, where is your favourite place to visit?
Marco Walker:
Having spent much of my youth in Austria I love mountains. I guess it would be the Himalayas. Skiing in the Himalayas - I´m not sure it gets much better than that!

Text: Laura Vevers