Photo London lines up a strong seventh edition: Nick Knight announced as this year's Master of Photography

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Photo London lines up a strong seventh edition: Nick Knight announced as this year's Master of Photography
Nick Knight, Blade of Light for Alexander McQueen, 2004.

LONDON.- The pioneering photographer and filmmaker will present an exhibition of his work at Somerset House for Photo London’s seventh edition, 12–15 May 2022. This year’s public programme also includes a homage to the legendary photographer Frank Horvat, who died in 2020.

As it prepares for its seventh edition, Photo London has announced British photographer Nick Knight will be the seventh recipient of the Photo London Master of Photography Award that will take place at Somerset House in May 2022. The award is presented every year to a living artist who has made an exceptional contribution to photography.

Commenting on the emerging seventh edition, Photo London’s Founders, Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad said: ‘We are excited to see a strong edition taking shape and very much look forward to announcing the full details of the Fair in March. We are particularly delighted that a number of US based collectors and galleries who were not able to travel to the UK for the Fair in September will return to London in May. Amongst them will be Peter Fetterman from LA whose book The Power of Photography - based on his inspirational series of daily postings during the pandemic - will be launched at the Fair with a special booth based on the Fetterman collection.

Our acclaimed Discovery section will again be a world class element of the Fair. This year, Tim Clark, writer, curator and Editor in Chief of the photography quarterly 1000 Words, will be curatorial adviser for Discovery. With the support of Nikon, we will continue our award for the most outstanding emerging photographer shown at the Fair - the work of last year’s winner Heather Agyepong will be shown at the Nikon space. We are also intending to announce plans for a digital section (covering all aspects of digital imaging making) which we hope will, in time, grow to rival Discovery as an innovative and engaging part of the Fair.

And once again our public programme will present an outstanding series of talks and exhibitions. Chief amongst them will be two exhibitions that celebrate the power of photography to challenge boundaries and change perceptions. For over three decades Nick Knight has operated at the forefront of innovation. He has developed a reputation for pushing boundaries technically and creatively at every opportunity. He has consistently challenged conventional notions of beauty and throughout his career has worked on a range of often controversial issues — including racism, disability, ageism, and more recently fat-ism. All of this makes him the perfect choice as this year’s Master of Photography.’

As well as featuring many iconic images from Knight’s career as one of the world’s most influential and visionary photographers, the exhibition will also feature his work in film and sculpture.

Commenting about his award and upcoming exhibition Nick Knight said: ‘My quest has always been to use photography to show me things I could not see. Photography has been my passport into life, giving me access to people from all backgrounds and walks of life. The same skill set has allowed me to create films, sculptures, and now even virtual versions of our world and ourselves.

From politics to AI I have been able to use the voice that photography gave me to present a vision of our future and find new ways of seeing the world. It’s a great honour to be given this award and I would like to use this occasion to demonstrate my enthusiasm for the future of image-making, and how incredibly important to realise it’s our purpose to show the world not just who we are but also who we want to be.’

Nick Knight is well known for his groundbreaking creative collaborations with leading designers including Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. Advertising campaigns for clients such as Christian Dior, Tom Ford, Lancôme, Swarovski, Levi Strauss, Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as award-winning editorials for publications including W, British Vogue, Paris Vogue, Dazed & Confused, AnOther, Another Man and i-D. Knight made fashion history in November 1993 by adapting ring-flash photography to capture Linda Evangelista for a landmark, post-grunge cover of British Vogue. Since then, his work has graced no fewer than 36 covers of the magazine.

Knight’s work has also featured on record covers for David Bowie, Paul Weller, George Michael and Massive Attack. More recently he has produced videos for Björk (Pagean Poetry), Lady Gaga (Born This Way) and Kanye West (Bound 2). His work has been widely exhibited at institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, Saatchi Gallery, the Photographers Gallery, the Hayward Gallery, and recently at the Tate Modern and the Natural History Museum in London.

Photo London’s second major public programme exhibition takes the form of a homage to the legendary photographer Frank Horvat who died in 2020. Welcoming this important addition to the Fair’s public programme Fariba Farshad and Michael Benson commented: ‘We are thrilled to be able to present the work of Frank Horvat in London for the first time in many years. We are deeply grateful to Initial Labo who have supported the show and to Frank Horvat’s daughter Fiammetta who has curated a wonderful tribute to her late father’s work. Thanks to them we are able to offer the London audience this once in a generation glimpse of the Horvat’s extraordinary and expansive oeuvre.’

Throughout a career that spanned over seventy years Frank Horvat was constantly experimenting and adapting to new technologies. His work frequently transcended the prevailing photographic orthodoxy. The result is image making of the highest order: work that is diverse and considerably more complex than it seems at first glance.

In his fashion work Horvat created a realistic style of picture making that revolutionised the development of fashion-based photography in England, France, and the United States. He stylistically combined realism and artifice, movement, and inventive locations, which won him immediate success as a French fashion photographer. His photographs have appeared in leading European and American magazines including Life, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Jardin des Modes.

Horvat’s work is represented in the permanent collections of many prestigious museums including Bibliothèque Nationale, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Kunst-bibliothek, Museum of Modern Art, and the George Eastman House, V&A and numerous other collections.

The Photo London exhibition is a timely re-introduction of Horvat’s work to the London audience ahead of a major retrospective on the photographer’s work at the Jeu de Pame, Paris, that opens in June. Commenting on the Photo London exhibition its curator, Horvat’s daughter Fiammetta, says:

‘Thanks to Photo London, my father’s work will be celebrated and remembered in a city that mattered greatly to him. Coming back from years spent in Pakistan and India he settled in London in the late 50s and always recalled this period as the most exotic adventure he had experienced. The British people remained a mystery to him till the very end. I hope this introduction to him will mark the beginning of a new dialogue with the United Kingdom.

For the London exhibition we present two emblematic series that are a perfect illustration of Frank Horvat’s approach to photography: his fashion images where he introduced a sense of naturalness and spontaneity into the very sophisticated and mannered world of fashion magazines; and his images of Parisian cabarets where he finds poetry in the seedy nightlife of the city.. In both worlds he proves photography can transform and transcend reality. What always matters is the eye and the intention of the photographer.’

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