Our Spring Summer 2012 campaign photographer, Tim Walker, and art director, Ronnie Cooke Newhouse, interview each other in a conversation celebrating the campaign, creativity and childhoods.
Ronnie: Shall we talk about this Mulberry campaign you shot? This being campaign number three for you?
Tim: Yes, the first was the one we did in Northumberland, and that was for Spring Summer 2011 and we filled the room with flowers and had a little piglet, then the second campaign we did in March 2011 and we had Shona (Heath) do the giant animals which was very good, those giant eggs and the big owl! Then we shot Spring Summer 2012 in October and the theme was Emma’s look at the seaside, so we went to the epitome of the English seaside – Brighton -and shot on the pier. That’s where we were! Shooting Spring Summer 2012 in October! It could have been a disaster, but Emma said she wouldn’t mind if it rained and yet luckily we had perfect weather.
Ronnie: Actually we thought we had an alternative for if it rained which didn’t work so we really didn’t have any option if it had poured down! We had the weirdest day, Indian summer, blue sky, fluffy clouds, and it seemed like no one in Brighton was working – everyone was out! It was strange, like a higher power smiled on us and said ‘we like your show Emma, we love the bags, clothes, shoes, so we’re going to give you a gift!’
Tim: Because of the way I shoot we had no lights, it was all daylight, so hair and makeup was at 6.30, by 7 we were on the beach watching the sun come up and then when it was going down in the early evening we were shooting still! Then it got cold and we all went home…
Ronnie: It was pretty magical. The girls, the two models [Frida Gustavsson and Lindsey Wixson] were great, really good together – like twins!
Tim: I have a question for you Ronnie, how old were you when you realised you were motivated by visual arts?
Ronnie: I think about three years old. I was drawn to painting and was basically very visually defined, in the way I thought, the way I remember things.
Tim: So for you, visual communication is a much more potent form of communication than the written form?
Ronnie: Yes, in a funny way I had to learn to communicate in all the different ways, as my level of development was advanced visually and then other methods caught up to that. I think it’s common for creative people, you decipher things, you learn things, you make sense of things, all visually first.
Tim: I was a doodler as a child, I communicated through sketches and would draw things to describe them. Doodles became photographs, I think like cartoons in a way – I see my photography as a form of cartoon – it was always in me to communicate that way. I couldn’t have done it in any other way. I think a lot of us that work visually, me, Emma, you, developed this way to communicate and understand visually when we were young, so still communicate like that now. Our childhoods are therefore important to how we think, maybe that’s the common denominator in all of us and why we all ‘get’ what we want from images, from campaigns.
Ronnie: We all seem to have rich memories from our childhood definitely. I’m always going back and wondering if the things I remember are simplistic and barely noticed by others but for me turned into seasons, campaigns, images or long term fascinations. It’s how each person perceives the situation I guess.