Nick Knight (photographer)

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Nick Knight

Nick Knight (cropped).jpg
Knight in 2015
Nicholas David Gordon Knight

(1958-11-24) 24 November 1958 (age 63)
London, England
EducationBournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design
Known forFashion photography, film

Nicholas David Gordon Knight OBE (born 24 November 1958) is a British fashion photographer and founder and director of He is an honorary professor at University of the Arts London and was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by the same university.[1] 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.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Knight was born in Hammersmith, London.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] The exhibition lasted for fifteen years.[6]

In November 2000, Knight launched[7][8]

He directed his first music video in 2001, for the song "Pagan Poetry" by Björk.[9] In 2003, he created a film for Massive Attack's album 100th Window.[10] In 2011 and 2013, he directed the videos for Lady Gaga's single "Born This Way"[11] and Kanye West's "Bound 2"[12] 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.[13]

Also in 2016, Knight's hand-coated pigment photographic work, Tatjana Patitz for Jil Sander, 1992 sold for an artist-record $304,204 at Phillips Hong Kong.[14] The work, originally photographed in 1992 and reprinted in 2016, featured supermodel Tatjana Patitz in a Jil Sander advertising campaign photographed by Knight. The celebrated photograph from Knight's commercial career in the fashion industry represents the collectability of his painterly works to buyers in the world of fine art.[15]

In 2019, he collaborated with Kanye West again, directing his short film Jesus Is King.[16] 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.[17]

In 2021, he reunites with Gaga for a collaboration with the French brand of champagne Dom Perignon on the campaign "The Queendom" helped with long time collaborator Nicola Formichetti, in order to realize a series of photos as well as a fashion film, released on April 6, with soundtrack from the album of the latter popstar Chromatica.[18]

Selected exhibitions[edit]

A few of Nick Knight's exhibitions are listed below:[19]



  • 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



  • Icons of Tomorrow – Contemporary Fashion Photography, Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland [21]


  • Vanity, Kunsthalle Vienna, Austria



  • Archeology of Elegance, Deichtorhallen Museum, Hamburg, Germany
  • Talking to Myself, Yohji Yamamoto, La Masion Européenne de la Photographie, Paris



  • 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



  • 20 For Today, National Portrait Gallery, London
  • 14-21 Youth Culture Exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum, London


  • Group Exhibition 1982, The Photographers' Gallery, London


  • Skinhead. London; New York: Omnibus, 1982. ISBN 9780711900523.
  • Nicknight. Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1994. ISBN 9783888146619. Produced and directed by Marc Ascoli, Nick Knight, and Peter Saville. Written by Satoko Nakahara.
  • Flora. Text by Sandra Knapp, art direction by Peter Saville, design by Paul Barnes. Initiated in 1993 for his installation of Plant Power at the Natural History Museum, London.
  • Nick Knight. With an introduction by Charlotte Cotton.
  • Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!. New York: Rizzoli, 2013. ISBN 9780847841721.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About". Nick Knight.
  2. ^ "Nick Knight - Tatjana Patitz for Jil Sander, 1992, 1992 | 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, November 26, 2016 Lot 48". Phillips.
  3. ^ Craven, Jo (21 April 2008). "Nick Knight".
  4. ^ "Nick Knight is part of the BoF 500". The Business of Fashion.
  5. ^ "Vision Quest". Alice Rawsthorn, The New York Times, 15 April 2007. Accessed 15 May 2017
  6. ^ "NHM Museum Archives".
  7. ^ "About SHOWstudio | The Home of Fashion Film & Live Fashion".
  8. ^ "Brit Insurance Design Awards shortlist: From Alexander McQueen to Zaha". 18 January 2010. Archived from the original on 20 June 2022.
  9. ^ "Pagan Poetry | SHOWstudio".
  10. ^ "Special Cases | SHOWstudio".
  11. ^ Montgomery, James. "Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' Video Premieres". MTV News.
  12. ^ "Kanye West debuts Nick Knight-directed Bound 2 video featuring Kim". 20 November 2013. Archived from the original on 20 June 2022.
  13. ^ Theodosi, Natalie (18 December 2016). "Nick Knight Shoots Portrait of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles".
  14. ^ Schuster, Angela M.H. (29 November 2017). "Photography Proves Itself as a Medium for Investment". Robb Report Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  15. ^ Fury, Alexander. "Nick Knight, the visionary architect of digital fashion shows". THE FINANCIAL TIMES LTD. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  16. ^ "Nick Knight on Directing 'Jesus is King: A Kanye West Film' | SHOWstudio".
  17. ^ Haring, Bruce (29 September 2019). "Kanye West Will Unveil New IMAX Film, 'Jesus Is King', Celebrating His Sunday Service". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  18. ^ "Lady Gaga revisits Born This Way vibes in new Chromatica video for 'Free Woman'". Yahoo! Movies. 6 April 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  19. ^ Christophe Guye Galerie, Nick Knight (Biography)
  20. ^ Christophe Guye Galerie, Link to the exhibition
  21. ^ Christophe Guye Galerie, Link to the exhibition
  22. ^ Conlon, Scarlett (10 November 2015). "Nick Knight Honoured".

External links[edit]