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Nixon Art Mosh: Brett Walker

At Nixon's recent Munich party we sat down with the photographer and got him to admit to a string of killings in the late 70s

There’s a strong punch of raw emotion that seperates Brett Walker’s body of work from his contemporaries. When its left hook hits you in full force, it leaves you disoriented; visual stories from the people and places he photographs flashes in your head. It's like you know these people, you know these streets, yet you don’t.They're all fromn Brett’s local neighborhood but they might just as well walk down your own street. Walker's densely contrasted and probing lens interferes with the mundane to give you images of people that are strangely familiar, strong, fiercely real, yet somehow detached, as if they were living double lives and keeping secrets.

The people in my photographs generally come from my neighbourhood in London, Ladbrooke Grove generally, I just ask them to pose and if that won't work I bribe them, beyond that threats of violence are the only way

When participating in last weekend's Nixon Art Mosh, a two-night art expo in the beating heart of Germany's creative centre, Munich, we spoke to the photographer about what makes him tick, uncovering his inspirations, aspirations... and a series of murders in the late 70s.

Dazed Digital: Tell us more about yourself: who are you and what do you want to say with your work?
Brett Walker: I'm a British photographer working out of London. I don't want to say anything with my work the idea is that the images say what's needed, but people who see it are more than welcome to say whatever they feel fit.

DD: How did you get into photography and who or what influenced your work?
Brett Walker: I got into photography by accident when I couldn't find work as a teenager. A photographer I knew needed someone to brush his studio floor, it all started there really, initially I was inspired by the usual suspects, William Klein, Weegee, Man Ray, then I found that amateur photography snapshots, family albums, pictures taken by people who knew nothing about what makes a camera work and had no interest in the traditionally accepted rules of composition excited me more than anything else and that's still the case today.

I only shoot a handful of frames and the money shot is usually in the first two or three before they put on their camera face

DD: Who are the people in your photographs, how do you approach them and how do you get their emotions out?
Brett Walker: The people in my photographs generally come from my neighbourhood in London, Ladbrooke Grove generally, I just ask them to pose and if that won't work I bribe them, beyond that threats of violence are the only way. I only shoot a handful of frames and the money shot is usually in the first two or three before they put on their camera face.

DD: Native Americans and Australian aborigines don't like to have their picture taken because they believe it can steal one's soul. Do you think a photo can do that?
Brett Walker:
They had their land, culture, traditions and lives stolen long before photography, it seems a bit late in the day now to be bitching about cameras, if photography could steal souls I would be a very rich man now. I'm not.

DD: How did your participation at Nixon Art Mosh come about? What are you most excited about in the expo?
Brett Walker: I got involved with Nixon Art Mosh via my agent Paddy Barstow, he said if I didn't show my work in Munich he would tell the police about a series of murders I committed in the late 70s so of course I said I would be delighted I'm a huge fan of Richie Culver and Miriam Elia, and with Nixon pulling the party strings what's not to be excited about?

DD: Where are you working on next?
Brett Walker: 2012 is looking like a busy year, I'm working on a book due in the late summer, a couple of shows and a short film about a family of albino barbers in war torn central Africa who are fighting back at local which doctors keen to harvest their organs, by sporting vicious hair cuts.