The Granny Alphabet

Tim Walker, with illus. by Lawrence Mynot and verse by Kit Hesketh-Harvey. Thames & Hudson (Norton, dist.), $40 (148p, two vols.) ISBN 978-0-500-54426-6
British photographer Walker (Story Teller), best known for staging fantastical spreads in magazines such as Vogue, turns his attention to the unexpected subject of grandmothers in this whimsical, irreverent two-volume boxed set. Though photo shoots with grannies might seem a reach for a fashion photographer, subject and artist turn out to be a surprisingly good fit. Walker introduces the project, an illustrated alphabet (“N”: “Nasturtiums, narcissi and nectarines too/ Gardners never have nothing to do”) as “part photographic love letter to the elderly and part documentation of the dying breed of little old ladies who live down the lane.” The first volume provides a rich sampling of Walker’s work at its most playful and opulent, with images of bubblegum pink dentures next to a pink-walled bathroom; a nana reclining among towering hat boxes; another dressed to the nines in a faux puma coat. Hesketh-Harvey’s nonsensical yet charming verse, full of puns, creates an even deeper (and sillier) sense of reality. The book is accompanied by a second volume, with illustrations by Mynott and less text (“U is for Umbrella”), but would have stood well on its own. Illus. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/28/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
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