John Knight

01/08/2009

Dom Henry put some questions to Pre-Raphaelite loving photographer John Knight


John Knight's photographic (yes this is a photo!) take on The Lady of Shallot
John Knight's photographic (yes this is a photo!) take on The Lady of Shallot

John Knight’s era-spanning work encapsulates the fragile beauty of Pre-Raphaelite art with cutting-edge photography, creating a fascinating twist on art history...

What was the inspiration for your Pre-Raphaelite themed works?
The beauty and the familiarity of those paintings, which I’ve seen since I was a child. I loved the stories behind them too, like Pandora’s Box and Tennyson’s poem The Lady of Shallot. Having wondered if it was possible to produce something similar, I tried one in the studio. It was hard work to get it right but when I finished the first one I liked the look and it spurred me on.

Did you find them challenging to create?
Two challenges arose in doing these. Firstly, the realisation that the Pre-Raphaelites manipulated their images, which was a shock to me. It’s especially obvious in Leighton’s Flaming June, in that you can’t reproduce it physically. You literally can’t get a model to do that pose, believe me I’ve tried! Leighton had an idealised idea in his mind and created the painting to fit that idea, not what he saw in front of him. So they were Photoshopping in their own way. The second challenge was the detail in the pictures. Getting the props and the background correct took a lot of work, along with finding a model with the right look.

John Knight's photographic take on Venus
John Knight's photographic take on Venus
What got you into photography?
I got into it through jewellery. About ten years ago I had a growing collection of costume jewellery and I thought it would be a good idea to write a book about it. I didn’t want to have the jewellery photographed on a black cushion. Fabulous pieces deserve to be worn and shown on a woman as they were intended. Not knowing how to go about it I hired a studio and a model for couple of hours and had a go at it. It was much more difficult than I imagined. Through trial and error I got more experienced at shooting jewellery, put together a little studio at home and started collecting props like a period wardrobe and equipment. I then realised I was into the photography as much as the jewellery.

What drew you towards fashion?
I’m always drawn to classic detail and design and I’m a nostalgic person... I’m very sentimental. I have a strong attraction to the art deco period from the 1920s and 30s, which is where most of my costume jewellery and fashion collected used to come from. So that’s the style I started to get into, collecting vintage outfits and jewellery.

What was your big break?
I found some old vintage items with the Jaeger label, after using them for some photos I sent the pictures to Jaeger. They liked the pictures but disputed whether it was Jaeger. A trip to London followed and they agreed they were genuine, got very much on my side and got me doing images of vintage Jaeger items for their archive. Similar initiatives gradually got me more work and I started to get referrals. I haven’t looked back since.

View our gallery of John's work

John Knight's Art Deco website





 

Share this article



Ads by Google


Comments


comments powered by Disqus

Share Tools

Go to comments Read comments and make your own

LeftLion Newsletter

Get a weekly dose in your inbox

LeftLion Newsletter
more info

NTU School of Art & Design

NTU School of Art & Design
more info

Most read this monthalt

  • Murdered By My Boyfriend
    This new, one-off BBC Three drama is based on the true story of a Nottingham girl who suffered at the hands of domestic abuse
  • LeftLion Magazine #59
    With Rankin, London Grammar, Ronika, World War I, Kogumaza, Sneinton Arts Scene and the eighties miners strikes
  • A Canadian at London 2012
    "I want to lose myself in the joyous atmosphere of the world’s middle class getting together to cheer on its fastest and best at throwing heavy objects"
  • Five Reasons Why Grandmaster Flash Changed The Game
    The man who introduced the medium of hip hop to the mainstream will grace the stage of Nottingham this Sunday at The Approach
  • Paul Kaye on Sid Vicious
    "What tepid and conservative times we live in by comparison. Kids didn't tweet their idols back then, they gobbed at them"
  • City Ground World Cup All-Stars
    Think Forest are no match for World Cup footballers? Well here's a full squad of players from Brazil 2014 who have played at the City Ground
  • Brief history of Gunn Crime
    An overview of the criminal careers of Bestwood Cartel leaders and 'Godfathers' of Nottingham gang crime, Colin and David Gunn
  • Notts TV: The First Six Weeks
    We have a look at our local telly channel's first month and a half on air
  • Meadow Lane World Cup All-Stars
    Don't think you see many World Cup footballers at Notts County? Well you might be surprised. Here's a full squad seen at Brazil 2014
  • To End All Wars
    "The anthology covers an immense amount of ground, aiming to bring perspectives other than 'the British soldier and his life in the trenches'"

Event Listings alt

There aren't any tickets available for sale. view all events

LeftLion on Facebook

 

Ads by Google