Nicholas David Gordon “Nick” Knight OBE (born 24 November 1958) is a British fashion photographer and founder and director of SHOWstudio.com. He is an honorary professor at University of the Arts London and was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by the same university. He has produced books of his work including retrospectives Nicknight (1994) and Nick Knight (2009). In 2016, Knight’s 1992 campaign photograph for fashion brand Jil Sander was sold by Phillips auction house at the record-breaking price of HKD 2,360,000.
LIFE AND CAREER
Knight was born in Hammersmith, London. He studied photography at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design and published his first book of photographs ‘Skinhead’ in 1982 when he was still a student at the school. He was then commissioned by i-D editor Terry Jones to create a series of portraits for magazine’s fifth-anniversary issue. His work caught the attention of art director Marc Ascoli, who commissioned Knight to shoot the 1986 catalog of Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto in collaboration with Peter Saville.
In 1992 Knight took a year long break from fashion photography to work on an exhibition at Natural History Museum, London with the British architect David Chipperfield. The exhibition was called Plant Power and was on the theme of the relationship between humans and plants. The exhibition lasted for fifteen years.
In November 2000, Knight launched SHOWstudio.com.
He directed his first music video in 2001, for the song “Pagan Poetry” by Björk. In 2003, he created a film for Massive Attack’s album 100th Window. In 2011 and 2013, he directed the videos for Lady Gaga’s single “Born This Way” and Kanye West’s “Bound 2” and “Black Skinhead.” In 2016, he photographed American rapper/singer Travis Scott for his sophomore album Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight.
In 2016, he was commissioned to shoot official portraits of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles for the Queen’s 90th birthday.
In 2019, he collaborated with Kanye West again, directing his short film Jesus Is King. Filmed in the summer of 2019, the film brings West’s Sunday Service to life in the Roden Crater, artist James Turrell’s installation in the Painted Desert. The film accompanied the release of Jesus Is King, West’s ninth studio album, and was released in IMAX theaters on October 25, 2019.
A few of Nick Knight’s exhibitions are listed below:
- Nick Knight, Christophe Guye Galerie, Zürich, Switzerland
- Nick Knight: Image, Daelim Museum, Seoul, South Korea
- History of Photography: The Body, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- #techstyle, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, United States of America
- Vogue 100, National Portrait Gallery, London
- Vogue Like a Painting, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain
- Killer Heels, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- Killer Heels, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn New York, United States
- Icons of Tomorrow – Contemporary Fashion Photography, Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland
- Vanity, Kunsthalle Vienna, Austria
- Fashion Revolution, Somerset House, London
- Archeology of Elegance, Deichtorhallen Museum, Hamburg, Germany
- Talking to Myself, Yohji Yamamoto, La Masion Européenne de la Photographie, Paris
- Century City, Tate Modern, London
- CUT, (Exhibition By The Hairdresser Barnabee) Musee De La Mode, Paris
- La Beaute, Exhibition For EN2000, Avignon, France
- Facing The Future, Touring Exhibition to Celebrate 20 Years of The Face Magazine
- Das Fernglas, German Hygiene Museum, Dresden, Germany
- Nadja, Exhibition Celebrating Nadja Auermann, Germany
- Imperfect Beauty, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- Nurture and Desire, Hayward Gallery, London
- Look at me – Fashion Photography 1965 to Present, British Council Traveling Exhibition
- Powerhause:uk, Department of Trade and Industry
- The Oriental Curiosity – 21st Century Chinoiserie, Traveling exhibition, (London, Paris, Hong Kong)
- Shoreditch Biennale, London
- The first 25 (retrospective exhibition of images from Visionaire magazine), Colette, Paris
- Addressing the Century: 100 Years of Art and Fashion, Hayward Gallery, London
- No Sex Please we’re British, Dazed & Confused, and Shiseido Co Ltd, Japan
- Yves Saint Laurent – 40 Years of Creation, New York, and Tokyo
- Silver & Syrup, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- Contemporary Fashion Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- JAM, Barbican Gallery, London
- Little Boxes, (to accompany the launch of Michael Mack’s book, „Surface – Contemporary. Photographic Practice“); Traveling exhibition curated by Michael Mack
- Art/Fashion (with Alexander McQueen), Biennale di Firenze, Italy
- A Positive View, Saatchi Gallery, London
- Vanities Exhibition, Paris
- Plant Power, (permanent exhibit), Natural History Museum, London
- Festival De La Photo De Mode Exhibition, Monaco
- Festival De La Photo De Mode Exhibition, Barcelona, Spain
- Out of Fashion, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
- Ils Annoncent La Colour, Rencontres d’Arles, Holly
- 20 For Today, National Portrait Gallery, London
- 14-21 Youth Culture Exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- Group Exhibition 1982, The Photographers’ Gallery, London