Nick Knight Speaks on How Naomi Campbell Inspired the Idea Behind SHOWstudio

Nick Knight talks about working with Kanye West and Alexander McQueen, plus the beginnings of SHOWstudio.

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Complex Original

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Nick Knight's SHOWstudio brought the world of fashion coverage into the digital age. The innovate platform gave Knight the chance to work with some of the most powerful people in the industry. His pioneering photography style can be seen everywhere from Kanye West's "Black Skinhead" video to many of Alexander McQueen's most famous campaigns. Knight sat down with The Cut to discuss his favorite collaborators and the very beginning of SHOWstudio.

In addition to the "Black Skinhead" video, Knight has worked with 'Ye on magazine covers, and illustrations, and he dishes on the rapper's legendary work ethic. "Kanye was staying 300 yards away from the SHOWstudio offices, and so he’d come here all day long [during the period when Knight shot the "New Slaves" video]," Knight told The Cut. "Just having him as part of the environment, it’s exhilarating."

Knight had a longtime relationship with the late McQueen as well. "Lee and I wanted to do things that excited us," Knight said. "He would ask me to do things that nobody else was asking me, incredibly audacious things. And I’d have to find ways of doing them — because his vision was actually quite dark and a little bit inaccessible in some ways." One of these unique ideas was to use people with very unusual body shapes for a shoot. "So people who were missing limbs, or people who had very pronounced curvature of the spine, people with disabilities," Knight noted. "We wanted to call it 'Fashion-Able.'"

Knight says that the idea for SHOWstudio, which often shows behind-the-scenes footage of shoots, started during a session with Naomi Campbell. "There’s six people in the whole world who are going to see this," Knight told The Cut. "What a shame. So then I said, 'I’ll just put a camera on a tripod in the back of the studio and keep some record of this.'" Knight started doing this for every shoot onward from 1988, and says he almost started a subscription service with the footage. "I thought about releasing a VHS cassette every month that we would mail out," he said.

You can read the full stories on the beginnings of SHOWstudio and Knight's favorite collaborators on The Cut.

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