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13-02-2007
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Thank you for posting that video Sethii! I love watching Daria model, shes such a natural, and the cover is stunning!

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13-02-2007
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I agree daria looked and modelled great, but the final choice was a bit strange.

I love the pose at 00:49 seconds into the video!

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15-04-2007
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nytimes

Quote:
April 15, 2007
Vision Quest

By ALICE RAWSTHORN

Hanging beside the door of Nick Knight’s London home are a half-dozen umbrellas, all identical, except for the color: differing shades of blue and black, all made by his tailor on Savile Row. Whenever Knight orders a suit, he picks out an umbrella to match.

Knight buys all his suits from Carlo Brandelli of Kilgour and is similarly particular about the rest of his wardrobe. His shirts are custom-made by the venerable shirtmaker Frank Foster, and his black leather brogues are made from his personal last at Tricker’s. Even his Levi’s are bespoke: his signature embroidered down the side, with a gold silk lining hanging to the knees. It’s only when you look closely at the shirt, the brogues and the jeans that you realize they replicate exactly what British skinheads would wear. The brutal youth cult fascinated Knight in his teens, and the fascination continues. “It’s the uniform I’ve built for myself,” says Knight, one of the world’s most celebrated fashion photographers. “I know what I like,” he adds firmly, “and I tend to be obsessive about it.”

A lean, taut figure with a boyish tuft of brown hair, Knight, 48, is not nearly as rigid when he turns his professional eye on fashion. In fact, his luscious, uncompromisingly contemporary images never look backward. Whether he is shooting the cover of British Vogue, an advertising campaign for Swarovski or an album sleeve for Bjork, Knight pushes himself relentlessly, experimenting with complex technologies to ensure that each new image is even more beautifully composed than the last. “I’ve never seen him repeat anything,” says the photographer Craig McDean. “He’s always looking for something new.”

With fashion now roiling with the kind of futuristic glamour that Knight is known for, his own quest for the new has taken him deep into the digital domain, searching for the multimedia equivalents of the still images that have defined fashion for the last century. In 2000, Knight founded the Web site SHOWstudio as a laboratory where he could experiment with interactive technologies. SHOWstudio has since produced more than 250 projects by Knight and others, placing him at the forefront of developments in 3-D scanning, digital sculpture, interactive film and a raft of other innovations. “When I’m producing a piece of work,” Knight says, “I’m looking for something I haven’t seen before, and once I’ve produced it, I’ll want to see something else.”

Knight’s restlessness is perfect for a constantly changing medium like fashion, but it’s confined only to his work. The antithesis of the playboy photographer, he leads a happy family life with his partner and agent of 21 years, Charlotte Wheeler, and their three children. “There is a division between the way I work and the comfort and reassurance of the way I live,” acknowledges Knight, who is endearingly open about his love for his family, especially Wheeler: “She’s everything to me. My inspiration, my mentor, my muse.” The couple seldom socialize, and on a rare occasion when they did, at British Vogue’s 90th-birthday party in November, they held hands all night.

Rather than hit the party scene, Knight prefers to stay at home, in the house, or houses, that the British architect David Chipperfield designed for the family in Petersham, a leafy suburb southwest of London. Knight built his first house — on the same site where he was born — in 1989, and the second nine years later, after he bought and demolished the house next door. The new house is a series of concrete and glass cubes looking out on to a baby forest of silver birches.

His father was a psychologist and his mother was a physiotherapist, and Knight had planned to follow them, and his chemist brother, into science, by studying medicine. A style-obsessed teenager who’d gravitated from glam rock to skinheads, he began a degree in biology only to discover that “I had no interest in it whatsoever.” Having taken up photography in his teens because “there was always a camera lying around the house, and it was a way to chat up girls,” he decided to study it. “Being told you could look at photography books all day was just fantastic,” he recalls.

By the time he graduated from art school, Knight had produced a photo book called “Skinhead” and persuaded the fledgling style magazine i-D to publish his work. Robin Derrick, now the creative director of British Vogue, was working there when a box of Knight’s student photographs arrived. “They were quite extraordinary,” he recalls. “They were what came to be a Nick trademark, black-and-white portraits, all very mannered. The people never just sat there, they were cropped or contorted. Later I found out what that involved, when Nick came to do my portrait. He put a large wooden set square in the back of my jacket and propped me up on a stool.”

Once in London, Knight continued to work for i-D with the stylist Simon Foxton. He met Wheeler in 1986, when she arrived at his studio as a student intern. “Nick opened the door and said, ‘You’ve got to take this portfolio into London,’ ” she recalls. “I thought, What a po-faced one.” With mermaid locks and a rollicking chuckle, the curvaceous Wheeler is the physical opposite of the rangy Knight, but he won her round. “I fell completely in love with her,” he remembers. “I couldn’t think of a possible moment I wanted to be separated from her. When we first met, I was so aggressive, difficult, questioning and wronged. Charlotte calmed me.”

By the 1990s, Knight was producing ad campaigns for Yohji Yamamoto and Jil Sander. He created gorgeous, color-drenched images of great technical sophistication and labored over every stage of the photographic process: he once spent two months printing a Jil Sander brochure. “He’s never satisfied,” Wheeler says. “He’ll take a picture and you’ll think it’s brilliant, but for him it’s just a starting point.”

Craig McDean was Knight’s assistant at this time. “I learnt more in my first month with Nick,” he says, “than in four years at college.” A succession of talented photographers have since assisted Knight, including Elaine Constantine, Sean Ellis and Solve Sundsbo. Juergen Teller asked to be taken on too, only to be told that his work was already so strong that Knight had nothing to teach him.

Knight took a break from fashion in 1993 to work with David Chipperfield on Plant Power, a new gallery at the Natural History Museum in London that explores the relationship between people and plants. His return was the November 1993 cover of British Vogue, which Derrick had joined as art director. The sumptuous ring-flash shot of Linda Evangelista brandishing a flash gun was their reinterpretation of the hard-edged glamour of the early 1970s work of Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Chris von Wangenheim. Marking the end of grunge, it heralded the revival of glamour, a theme that Knight has since explored tirelessly, often with longstanding collaborators like Alexander McQueen and Bjork.

In the late ’90s, he challenged the fashion industry’s stereotypes of glamour in a series of images featuring plump women, elderly women and people with disabilities. “Nick made them all look fabulous, and that forced people to look at them differently,” says Lisa Armstrong, fashion editor of The Times of London. “There was a huge fuss at the time, but Nick handled it so politely and thoughtfully that it became more than just a bubble, and has had a long-term influence.”

The advertising campaigns that Knight did with John Galliano for Dior, beginning in 1997, are his most visible works. “We had to rewrite the visual language of the brand,” Knight recounts. “John had this idea of bouleversement, of swiping the carpet from underneath this established French house, so everything spun into fantastic chaos.”

“There was never a disappointment,” Galliano adds. “If I had to choose a favorite, I’d choose Angela Lindvall in the trailer-trash campaign, Karen Elson in the manga campaign or Gisele in the bubbles. The list is just endless.”

As well as revitalizing Dior, the campaign cataloged the changes in photographic technology. Each ad was shot with a fisheye lens, which distorts the image by stretching and shrinking it into improbably proportioned shapes. Knight then refined the results using the now ubiquitous technologies of postproduction. New digital techniques have enabled him to make his pictures even more complex, like combining a dozen transparencies into one super-rarefied image.

“Digital manipulation is just another tool,” he says. “It’s less profound than the lens you use, or the angle.” But in the end, he adds, “photography is all about manipulation, and as it’s evolved, it’s become more manipulative in every way. I’ve never seen photography as a truthful medium. It’s about individual perceptions of reality, and that’s what people want to see.”

What Knight wants to see are perfectly composed images. “Working behind the camera, I am waiting for the moment when the colors and shapes form themselves into a harmonious series of patterns,” he explains. “It’s about the purity of the note, like a musical composition. Everything is in discord until I hit the note, and the image feels correct.”

Critics have said that Knight’s work is too emotionally detached and that, in his pursuit of aesthetic perfection, he treats his models as compositional elements, not individuals. It’s true that he conveys little of their characters but always imbues his subjects with dignity, and sought-after models like Kate Moss and Gemma Ward choose to work with him repeatedly. Moss says that she enjoys “the intensity of being in front of his 8 by 10.”

Scrupulously planned by Wheeler, Knight’s shoots are famous for their efficiency, and he for his courtesy. “He has tremendous professionalism, and his teamwork with his wife is remarkable,” observes Nadja Swarovski, a vice president of Swarovski, a current client.

“Nick has a very gentlemanly manner,” Derrick adds. “Once I’d asked Kate Moss to do a nude for him. She was undecided, so she stood behind a sheet and Nick started taking her picture. Suddenly she dropped the sheet and stood before him full frontal. Nick said, ‘That’s smashing, Kate.’ And carried on. That’s Nick, always polite, always appropriate, and the only person I know who says ‘smashing.’ ”

Despite the beauty of his still images, SHOWstudio may yet prove to be Knight’s most influential project. He has bankrolled the Web site since 2000, at considerable personal expense. As well as enabling Knight to experiment, it has nurtured a new generation of multimedia stylists, designers and digital artists. When a famous face, like Moss’s, is featured on SHOWstudio, as many as 500,000 people log on in a day. Recent projects include interpreting the current season’s collections in the form of sound and Webcasting the masked ball that Knight hosted (on a rare night out) in London last October with ice cream dished up by the British star chef Heston Blumenthal, a fencing tournament and Regency dancing. While Moss was singing karaoke with her on-off lover Pete Doherty, Knight slipped away to film the final installment of a video diary for SHOWstudio with the actress Asia Argento.

“I don’t know where SHOWstudio will take us, but it will be exceedingly exciting to find out,” Knight says. “We’re in a completely new moment. When my kids come home from school, they’ll go on to a Web site like Bebo” — for social networking — “with 15 friends, and sit there, all talking on their cellphones. They’ll drag a bit of video over from MySpace, something from a TV show or an odd fashion moment. Vooom! It’s all about different layers, and they’re completely at ease with that. What they don’t do is look at still images in magazines.”

Knight’s to-do list for SHOWstudio includes more digital sculptures, a live fashion event in Beijing and exploring another obsession — smell — by inventing a fragrance. “There are always a million things Nick wants to do,” Wheeler says. “And when he looks into them, he finds another million.” Knight is also working on a book of his work to be published in 2008 with 10 exhibitions in 10 different cities.

“Going back over the old work for the book so goes against how I feel,” Knight admits. “I always work in the future tense. As a photographer, you never see the moment you’re recording. When you press the button, the flash goes off and overstimulates the retina; or you look into the camera, the shutter goes down and it goes black. You’re always working in a pre-emptive, intuitive way. The future is where I find myself most of the time, and it’s an odd place to be.”


Nick Knight
Picture perfect: Nick Knight’s take on Devon Aoki in Alexander McQueen for Visionaire (1997).



Nick Knight
Knight vision: a self-portrait (2006).



Nick Knight
Gemma Ward in W (2005).



Nick Knight
A fashion explosion for Yohji Yamamoto (1986).

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15-04-2007
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Thanks for the article DosViolines!

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16-04-2007
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wow, i loved that article!

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18-04-2007
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This hasn't been said, but I'm a very big fan. His covers for British Vogue are incredibly recognizable; I adore them.

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18-04-2007
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^^ Me too! I loved the article! Thank you.

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22-04-2007
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my favourite aswell , as you can tell by my avatar

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25-04-2007
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You can see a video of Knight working a few days ago at http://showstudio.com/project/thenominees/blog

From the latest issue of Arena Homme, Brazil.








madeinbrazilmag.com

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Last edited by SomethingElse; 25-04-2007 at 04:26 AM.
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25-04-2007
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Did you guys know that Knight worked at I-D and he introduced the public to Craig McDean and Jurgen Teller?

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25-04-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kissmesweet
Did you guys know that Knight worked at I-D and he introduced the public to Craig McDean and Jurgen Teller?
I think he took on Craig McDean as an assistant when McDean was starting out. Didn't know about Jurgen Teller though - tell!

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25-04-2007
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That editorial is so great! I almost like Galliano's collection after seeing it!

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27-04-2007
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didnt you guys read the article...just above...

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27-04-2007
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I'm beginning to appreciate his work more and more recently, I don't know why it's taken me so long

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12-05-2007
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flickr.com

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