In a world saturated with imagery of the ‘perfect body’, Nick Knight is redefining the perceptions of beauty. His photography addresses the issues of ageism, size, acceptability and physical disability (Berry 2015). Fashion photography will always have tension between the art and commerce aspects of it. Advertisers naturally try to market their products to the consumer as a necessary item to enable them to reach the heights of society’s perfection (Berry 2015).
My aim has always been to push at the boundaries of what is and isn’t beautiful – Nick Knight
Nick Knight is known in the Fashion photography world as an innovative photographer that pushes the boundaries into unsettling and otherworldly images. Through the use of Photoshop, he transforms the models into bizarre, beautiful alien-like creatures. Far from the Barbie doll-like models we are used to seeing (Mavrody 2014). In the image below, Nick Knight is credited for Photoshopping model, Sophie Dahl, to accentuate her curves. The addition of talon-like nails and the bluey-green tinged lighting adds to the alien-like treatment of the image.
In the film, ‘Savage Beauty’ produced by Nick Knight & Alexander McQueen, 1969 – 2010, the dramatic effects of the clothing and the highly stylised theatre of the film further enhance his otherworldly approach to presenting fashion.
In just two of his campaigns he chose to work with models outside the considered ‘norm’. In the ground breaking campaign for Levi Strauss, he featured models whom were black and white in their 60’s and 70’s. On the other hand, he worked with a group of people with physical disabilities in ‘Dazed and Confused’ (Frankel 2009).
In terms of innovation and pushing the boundaries of the fashion industry, Nick Knight is one of the finest fashion photographers of his time. Hopefully he will lead the way into a new era of fashion where Beauty is seen in all ages, shapes and sizes.
Dr. Jess Berry, “Contemporary Fashion: From Heroin Chic to Narrative Glamour: Lecture 4” 2432QCA: Contemporary Fashion (Brisbane, Griffith Queensland College of Art, August 17, 2015) Lecture notes.
Nika Mavrody, The Fashion Spot, “Nick Knight on Photoshopping in Magazines: ‘If you want reality, look out of the window,” (blog) posted May 5, 2014, accessed September 19, 2015. http://www.thefashionspot.com/buzz-news/latest-news/402575-nick-knight-on-photoshopping-in-magazines-if-you-want-reality-look-out-of-the-window/
Show studios, Lee Alexander McQueen, 1969 – 2010 (online video, September 19, 2015). http://showstudio.com/project/lee_alexander_mcqueen_1969_2010
Susannah Frankel, “The fabulous world of Nick Knight” The Independent, October 27, 2009, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/the-fabulous-world-of-nick-knight-1809790.html