Part of: Master

Brief: Nick Knight's Mastered Course

published on 31 August 2017

Nick Knight explains his brief to the students of the Mastered Programme.

Nick Knight explains his brief to the students of the Mastered Programme.

I am asking you to create a sexual image as I believe there is an increasingly puritanical trend happening across the media. The fact that on two huge media image platforms, Facebook and Instagram, it is not allowed to show a woman's nipples, takes us back to almost Victorian moral values and worse still sends out a very harmful message to women – that showing your breasts is in someway wrong and even sinful.

Even the most natural action of breastfeeding is now becoming taboo in public in the United States. It is important to re-address this imbalance in the media and it is only done so by showing how important and how brilliant imagery of this sort can be.

I am not looking for imagery that objectifies women or men and I believe if the model is part of the creative process, informed and most importantly consensual to being part of it, then the subject is not being objectified.

It is our hope that the viewer will not only enjoy and desire the fashion in the films, but will feel perhaps more engaged with them on a personal and intellectual level. We hope that they will have their viewpoint on sex broadened, challenged, and maybe even aroused. It is not our aim to offend but rather to show the diversity of sex as it occurs naturally.

I fully appreciate that this is a controversial brief, however, I firmly believe that it is you, the image makers of today, that need to take on board controversy and create your art in an open way free from moral restrictions.

Firstly, and most importantly, I want to stress that this brief may not be suitable for some of the students. I only want you to undertake it if you feel at ease with it. I appreciate we have students from 70 different countries and therefore many different religious and moral beliefs, so if you do not wish to take part in this, I totally understand and I absolutely respect you in making that choice.

Photography and image making relies on trust, your teams have to trust you.

Secondly and also extremely importantly, I need you to make sure that the person or people you are filming is / are fully aware of the type of imagery you are attempting before they arrive to shoot the session with you and are in full agreement to take part and be published if chosen. This has to be image making that is totally consensual with the model and the rest of your team. Nobody must feel in any way coerced into taking part.

Please be absolutely 100% honest when asking models and other team members to take part. Photography and image making relies on trust, your teams have to trust you.

The brief I want to set is to ask you to create a series or a single image that is sexual in nature and is a fashion image. You have a one word brief, which is 'Restricted'. Express this brief in the most imaginative way possible, try and avoid cliches! The purpose of this is to create an image that sexually arouses the viewer as well as making them desire the fashion in the picture.

The image or images must be a still taken from a film. This can be shot on any camera you wish: i-Phone, 8mm, Red Camera, Go Pro, what ever you can get your hands on and are comfortable using. The film itself should be submitted and the best will run on SHOWstudio, as judged and decided by myself, Tom Hingston (the art director I worked with over many years on projects such as Dior and Massive Attack) and the artist and model Tessa Kuragi. The image must be taken from that film.

Before you take on this brief, I would like you to look at the work of fashion photographers, Man Ray, George Platt Lynes, Chris Von Waggenheim, Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton, Ellen Von Unwerth , Bruce Weber, Arvida Byström and Ryan McGinley. Study their work and see how all these photographers create sexual imagery in their own way and for the times they live in. I do not want you to copy them, just learn from them.




Competition Brief: Punk DIY

10 May 2013
In tribute to the punks’ expressive clothing, we are asking you produce a one-off item and use it as the subject of your film or animation.

Essay: Bearded Ladies

13 July 2016
Hair: Maddy Killick on the history of the Bearded Lady.

Essay: Eyebrows

14 July 2016
Central Saint Martins student and Scouser, Amy Czarnecki explores the origins of Liverpool’s specific eyebrow trend, the 'Scouse Brow'.
Back to top