Photo London 2022: Master of Photography: Nick Knight

Photo London 2022: Master of Photography: Nick Knight

This year Photo London Master of Photography Nick Knight presents an exhibition of key works that spans the full length and breadth of his extraordinary career, showcasing works from the 1980s to new pieces made this year. Encompassing fashion, portraiture, still life, landscape and the nude – through images that manifest through photography, film, painting, porcelain, sculpture and installation – the exhibition is an invitation to consider new ways of looking at the world.

For more than four decades, Knight has been at the forefront of creativity in photography, constantly pushing the boundaries of the medium to explore its expressive potential. Recognized as one of the world’s most visionary and influential photographers, Knight has always challenged conventional ideals of beauty through images that are both transgressive and poetic. His collaborations with designers, choreographers, editors, models and musicians inscribe a universe that is both dreamlike and revealing, while his landscapes and still lifes of the last decade fundamentally experiment with technology and materials to rewrite the processes of photography. . It is a work that dialogues with the history of art while being guided by the most recent technological possibilities and a sensibility that celebrates the present and the future.

“My quest has always been to use photography to show me things I couldn’t see,” says Knight. “Photography has been my passport into life, giving me access to people from all walks of life and walks of life. The same skill set has allowed me to create films, sculptures, and now even virtual versions of our world and ourselves. From politics to AI, I have been able to use the voice that photography has given me to present a vision of our future and find new ways of seeing the world. I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to demonstrate my excitement for the future of image making and how incredibly important it is to realize that our purpose is to show the world not only who we are, but also who we want to be.

Among the works on display are iconic fashion photography from the 80s, 90s and 2000s for designers such as Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano and Christian Lacroix, including the iconic multi-digit image Blade of Light for Alexander McQueen (2004); Knight Roses Photos Paintings and a cinematographic work produced during the last decade; and two new pieces occupying central positions in the exhibition: a mountain landscape that recalls the romanticism of Caspar David Friedrich by evoking the relationship of man to the sublime; and a vast sculpture of female figures created by fusing photography and 3D printing that resembles the intricate figuration of the Old Masters, their fleshy intertwined bodies invoking a Rubinesque sensibility that subverts current fashions.

Accessories such as clothes, smoke, animals (in preparation British birds from 2008 and Snakes for Alexander McQueen2009) and pigment — for example in Pink powder, Lily Donaldson in John Galliano (2008) – merging real and fantastic in Knight’s work; while his pioneering adoption of digital image-making and material investigations of the photographic image dissolved the boundaries between mediums. For his Roses from my garden images, for example, he first photographed cut flowers in daylight using only his iPhone, then processed them using groundbreaking artificial intelligence technology that adds data using software trained with millions of sample images, performing approximately two million operations per pixel to deliver results with as much detail and sharpness as possible. Knight then meticulously brushes the original, softer version with this sharper image to create breathtaking prints that seem part photography, part painting. Flowers picked from the artist’s garden thus acquire the delicate luminosity of Dutch still lifes of the 17th and 18th centuries, encapsulating a melancholy vision of decaying beauty.

His Roses Photos Paintings meanwhile, they use an accidental discovery in their manufacture – the use of non-absorbent paper and a carefully controlled environment that allows the ink to flow naturally during printing, followed by handling and of Knight’s overpainting of these compositions to literally blur the lines between painting and photography. On the other hand, in the work on the moving image The own destruction of the sound of light II (2017) which shows fireworks exploding within the confines of a sphere, Knight’s manipulations are conceptually orchestrated, commenting on how destructive it can be to contain and suppress beauty.

Together, the works convey an energy that reaches back into the past and into the future. “My fascination with sculpture comes from what sculpture traditionally represents to society – who is transformed into sculpture and what that says about our values,” Knight says of her new work. “Fashion is almost by definition transitory whereas sculpture is permanent and I like the idea of ​​mixing these two dynamics. The women in this sculpture are representations of beauty and desire and reflect a new sense of inclusiveness and expansion of what the fashion world considers “acceptable beauty” that is becoming increasingly present in fashion. fashion. It’s something I’ve championed many times, so I’m excited to make this change something that feels permanent. A statement not just a trend.

For more information on Photo London 2022 and to book tickets, please visit:

Nick Knight
Photo London Master of Photography 2022
Somerset House

May 12 – 15, 2022
Preview: May 11, 2022

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