Stop Being a Photographer, Be an Image Maker

Stop Being a Photographer, Be an Image Maker

Last Tuesday, Adobe hosted an event in London, which was headlined by a keynote speech from Nick Knight OBE, the world-renowned fashion photography visionary. He spoke about his views on the world of photography and innovation in his field, whilst offering some fascinating takeaways for his audience, not least the blending of formats and mediums that has lead to himself retiring the term “photographer” from his CV. The event I’m referring to was the Adobe “#CreativeMeetUp” in East London, a sister event to the “Creative Max - The Creativity Conference” held in LA last month. We were treated to short demos of all of the latest Create Cloud software and updates, the biggest update since the inception of the Creative Cloud itself.

This was followed by equally fascinating and intriguing talks from British artists Kate Moross and Kelly Anna. But the best was saved till last when Nick Knight graced the stage for a Q&A with his collection curator.

If you had never heard of Nick Knight before, a three-minute showreel prologued his arrival, featuring the greatest names in fashion, for the biggest fashion houses in the world. It was merely a drop in the ocean of his creative output from thirty plus year career.

Knight is often identified as the creator of the fashion film. These are no narrative motion pictures, that are created to make the fashion take center stage in imaginative ways. We got an insight into how he developed this format and created a platform with his Show Studio when there was none.

We got the inside track on stories of JFK, Robert De Niro, Kate Moss, and Naomi Campbell. But what stuck in my mind more than anything else was the way he spoke with such passion for not wanting to be labeled as a “photographer” any longer.

In Nick’s mind, what he does is nothing like the photography that is practiced with the billions of people using their smartphones. I think on the surface this could come across as pretentious, but this 100% wasn't his intention. In fact, Nick went to great lengths to express that he loves when the status quo is rocked.

What he was trying to get at was that he doesn’t limit himself to photography when bringing a project to life. He will use 3D imaging, or film, or VR for example. And that using the phrase “image maker” is more of a true reflection of what he does… although even he admitted himself that this sounds a bit lame, and is open to suggestions for a better term.

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12 Comments

Exactly! Visual Artist to be precise.

Elan Govan's picture

"In Nick’s mind, what he does is nothing like the photography that is practiced with the billions of people using their smartphones. I think on the surface this could come across as pretentious, but this 100% wasn't his intention. In fact, Nick went to great lengths to express that he loves when the status quo is rocked".

Nick is absolutely right. If I was teaching photography for beginners, this is where I would start. The modern day reality of Smartphone Photography and DSLR Photography.

" I think on the surface this could come across as pretentious, but this 100% wasn't his intention."

No not at all, Nick's Knights at the top of his game. A higher level in an age where "everyone's a photographer".

Need's to come up with something better tho than "Image Maker".

Elan Govan's picture

That is his choice as a full time professional. Do feel free to direct your observation to him. I know I will.

"That is his choice as a full time professional." Most certainly it is.

" I know I will.". That's very kind of you

Elan Govan's picture

No worries, but please be aware I don't do not raise third party concerns.

"but please be aware I don't do not raise third party concerns."

but you already said you would

Elan Govan's picture

You do realise we are not in a court of law here....I do have the right to correct my comments. And I have.

Anonymous's picture

I guess I don't appreciate fashion. It all looks grotesque to me. :-/

Image makers are all kinds of art creators. Not just photographers. If this connection to the unwashed mass of photographin' commoners makes him less godlike, then go on: Zeus of image cration, or Paganini of pictured holyness or more ridiculous terms.

Maybe 'Imagineer' is a good one. That's how I call myself and my pictures are 'imaginaries'... :)