Grazia popped into Selfridges yesterday to say Hi to photography visionary Nick Knight, who was there to sign copies of his new book, which is also called Nick Knight. The glossy tome features a magical collection of his most beautiful and iconic images as well as previously unpublished pictures. It also features stills from his video work and revolutionary imagery that he has developed for showstudio.com.
Knight had rushed to Selfridges from his exhibition "Showstudio: Fashion Revolution" at Somerset House, where he had just finished photographing Kate Moss, as part of his 100 Portraits project, shooting 100 celebrities for i-D magazine…
Grazia Daily: So can you tell us about the set-up for your 100 Portraits project at Somerset House?
Nick Knight: I wanted to present it in that kind of gallery context, so I’ve taken the fashion photographer’s studio and made it into an exhibit, by having one of the walls as a two way mirror wall so the public can actually come right up to it and see it just as an exhibit. So the whole process of a taking a fashion photograph can become an exhibit in itself
GD I guess there’s [usually] an intimacy to portrait-taking, and yet you’ve got this huge audience; it’s kind of strange…
NK Yes, I love that. I love that there’s just one really thin piece of glass that separates somebody’s fans from themselves. We’ve got different people who come down, use those mirrors, and they’ve stood in front of them and made themselves up and they’re literally just that far away from their huge fan base; there’s 200 people gathered outside watching them. It’s a very interesting psychological moment, I’m very interested in the whole idea of fame and celebrity. I actually don’t particularly endorse it… which probably isn’t very good for your magazine! I think it creates a fake divide between people, and actually we are all the same. Some of us have different talents….I think that fame is a slight a false goal in the world. I’m trying in a way to take that down, to demystify that process...I don’t like the divisions which are caused by celebrity and fame. But that’s my own personal thing.
GD See, now I want to ask you about Kate Moss, but…. *sheepish*
NK [laughs] Kate, I’ve known for many years and she’s a fantastic model. And she came down to Somerset House today and in front of a huge crowd of people, did exactly what she does brilliantly - which is model for the cover of i-D and for SHOWstudio.
GD What were you doing with her today? What was the set like?
NK Just very stripped down, bare set, white background, just about her - creating shapes, creating a mood, working with my camera. Just trying to find a way of expressing a whole bunch of stuff, which she does so brilliantly.
She can put a little black T-shirt on and make it look like the exact T-shirt you want to buy this season. And that’s a real skill - she understands the narrative in clothing, and expresses that perfectly. That’s her great skill.
GD You’ve photographed her so many times, is it hard to come up with something new to do with someone you know so well?
NK No, it’s never hard to come up with anything new for Kate. It’s a conversation that keeps on going. She’s always got something fascinating to say and I’m always very excited to meet her and to see her again. So no, I never tire of photographing her.
[we have a nosey while Nick signs a book to send to Victoria Beckham]
GD So how much longer have we got to catch your 100 Portraits project at Somerset House?
NK We’re there until the 20th – Sunday. Gareth Pugh is our last portrait. Gareth Pugh, who has said to me that he wants to pose naked.. but we’ll see.
GD Yikes! Well, good luck with that. And thanks for talking to Grazia Daily.
Watch Nick talking about fame and Kate....