Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fashion Knight: A Textual Portrait of Nick Knight

In modern day fashion photography there are few artists trailing as much influence and innovation as Nick Knight. While the photography industry faced drastic changes in the midst of Nick’s phenomenal career, the creative force often found a way to evolve naturally in tandem with technology developments in the field. Although his career started out over 30 years ago, Knight consistently associates himself with relevant, contemporary culture. This has propelled the photographer into a steady prominence in industries ranging from fashion to music, and everything in between.
A master of multiple mediums, Nick started photography at a young age for its social appeal. This knack for rather obscure attention seemingly manifested itself into a flair for the controversial, which is reflected in his work. Everything from Knight’s self perception to his work methodology is notably eccentric, gaining him notoriety in the fashion industry.

Fashion pieces in Nick Knight’s photography were far from fixed and static like other photographers. After working with style heavyweights from all over the world, he came to the conclusion that fashion was made to be seen in motion. In order to put his vision in effect, he often has models move to display the versatility of a clothing piece. This can be seen heavily in his work with Lady Gaga for Vanity Fair. The magazine spreads displayed the pop star in Alexander McQueen gowns, with an obvious focus on the elements of the dress as opposed to the starlet. The center of interest was instead merely anchored by the singer.  In true Nick Knight fashion, most  of the portraits captured the McQueen originals in mid-action.                               
Nick’s unique take on fashion inspired him to utilize various mediums, and increasingly integrate film into the fashion world. This dabbling in film has also led to him gaining a place in the director’s chair of music videos with extremely visual artists. Gaga and Knight collaborated on her music video for “Born This Way”, while Kanye West worked with the director on music videos for two singles off his 2013 LP “Yeezus”. Global music figure Bjork was the starting point for his music video career however, as he started off by directing her “Pagan Poetry” music video.  
Nick's work with Kanye have included the CGI "Black Skinheads" music video as well as the "Bound 2" music video. "Bound 2" featured an obscurely romantic feel, which is a bit off-setting considering the graphic nature of the song's lyrics. But hey, nothing's quite as romantic as "I wanna fuck you hard in the sink, then give you something to drink." Clearly it was enough to work on a Kardashian (although maybe that's not saying much).
While everyone has their opinion on his work with Kanye, most are willing to admit there's powerful imagery at the center of their partnership. Knight's work on Lady Gaga's was a but more hit-or-miss. As Lady Gaga's macabre image peaked, her photoshoots with him definitely reflected this. Against what's supposed to be an inspiring piece of work about acceptance and love are a plethora of images with an alien-like goth Gaga. As a personal fan of a lot of Lady Gaga's work, I must say the cover of "Born This Way" is a stressful speck in pop culture I'd like to forget. Judge the Microsoft paint job for yourself below.

  Anyway, back to the man behind the lens. Although often questioned for his aims, Nick has often stated that he is blind to aim and sees only the needs in relationships. The professional provocateur will always nurture the needs of the relationships he has with collaborators, and illustrate art to satisfy those needs. Ultimately, he sees all art as a stronger form of communication than words could ever express. Nick Knight’s photography and its influence will seemingly continue to dominate multiple facets of art for decades to come. Peep some more work below: