Interview with Nick Knight following the ‘Fashion, Beauty and the Digital Revolution’ discussion at The Vogue Festival 2014.
What do you think makes a good picture stand out from an average one?
Should be an easy question to answer… it’s about so many things, it’s about you rather than the picture it’s about what you see in it so a picture that stands out to you might not stand out to me. It’s really about your involvement with the subject of that picture.
So is it more about personal opinion?
Well, it’s down to whether the picture is useful to you whether it shows you something you desire or want to know, so it’s the use of that picture to you. There’s not one thing which makes a picture stand out, and obviously you know any sort of colour, dynamic or form but they don’t mean anything to you. So it’s not about the picture; it’s your use of it, your need for it, your desire for it.
Is there one thing you wish you knew in the earlier stages of your career that would have benefited you?
I guess it’s about self confidence. I was fairly confident to be honest but it’s that, just realising that what you’ve got to say is just as valid as anybody else.
That leads onto another question actually, how do you deal with pressures and fears when shooting? Does it improvewith time and practice?
Yeah you have to (laughing) I’ve got a shoot tomorrow which is just as worrying as the shoot I did 20 years ago, it doesn’t get any easier.
What is the process you undergo when given a project? Do you tend to test shoot your ideas?
No, never, never test. The whole excitement about a shoot is that it happens live and you can never prepare or rehearse that, it’s an instant unrehearsed bit of creativity, and that’s what makes it thrilling, so never test no.
Your images are all so unique, how often do your images reflect your initial vision? Or is it sometimes a case of experimentation?
It’s always a case of experimentation. You usually start out with not so much an image but a desire, so you want to see something, so you desire to see something and following that desire and whether that desire is fulfilled rather than the actual sort of image.
How much of your own post production do you carry out?
Errm, increasingly, I use a lot of my iPhone, it really does depend on the job but I’d say it gets more and more, I did a series of pictures yesterday for Diesel which are going straight from my iPhone straight onto the screen, so they are not going through a third party so in that way I’m responsible for all, but it really depends, hard question to answer. In general, more and more.
Do you have a preference between shooting on location or in a studio?
No not really, I normally always end up in the studio but I don’t have a preference for that, usually the way it goes and essentially it’s easier because it’s not going to rain on you or that sort of thing.
Okay, last question, leading on from the talk, with the success of SHOWstudio and other online platforms do you think the magazine industry will completely go into decline?
Yes, has started to already, I’d give it another 10 years maximum.