Thomas Knights is the definition of Clean. He is a photographer, singer and also makes music videos. As if this isn’t enough, he could be a model himself to! He is the total package! Time to put this multi-talented man in the spotlight. Especially since his first exhibition is coming up. It’s up to let Thomas Knights introduce his RED HOT project. Besides this we also talked to him about his collaboration with Ada & Nik and music. One thing is clear; we got a new favorite photographer after this interview!
Reading your biography gave as a little surprise. You began your career as a music producer and performer. Can you tell us more about that?
Yeah, it was everything to me. I worked my ass off and wrote/produced a disco record. It was just such bad timing for that sound, so I had to eventually leave it. However, It sounds very contemporary now, Daft Punk is helping to bring back the disco vibes. I’m actually writing an EP at the moment, as the timing is so much better for the style of music I like. Also, completely randomly Maya Jane Coles heard one of my old tracks and used the top-line for a track on her album. It’s going to be a single later this year, so I’m back in the studio big time. I’ve really missed making music.
When did you decide to step behind the camera?
When I was first doing the record I had to get some publicity shots, so I would come up with all sorts of creative ideas, set up the shot and get my mum to actually take the picture. I really enjoyed it and the postproduction. So it all began from there.
Can you tell whom you are as a photographer to those who don’t know you?
I’m very narrative orientated… I like to tell stories or have strong concepts. I also make music videos now, which felt like a natural progression for me.
You worked for big magazines like Dazed & Confused, iD, Vogue Italia, Wonderland and even Hunger which is a big favorite of ours. We can’t imagine; but is there a magazine you haven’t done yet but really want to?
Yeah loads! I really want to shoot for Vogue US and UK and Japan.
How was it to be handpicked by Rankin as one of the emerging fashion photographers?
It was awesome. He has been really supportive. I recently shot a fashion film at his studio for a menswear label called Ada & Nik. Which premiered on Hunger. The BBC1 news featured it in a report on London’s men’s fashion week.
Talking about Ada & Nik, recently you done a project with them, a project we really love. Can you tell us more about the short film and how it was to be involved with the first look and impression of a new fashion brand?
Nik came to me with the concept of the label. We brainstormed and wrote the little story, then shot it the next week. It was all quite natural and came quite easily, maybe because I’ve known Ada and Nik for a long time and got what they were trying to do. I’ve shot several fashion films for Ada’s womenswear label; Ada Zandition. And I have known and worked with Nik for a few years. I hadn’t shot any menswear for a while so was really excited when they approached me to work with them on their first collection. It was a great experience, I love those guys.
Your work is mostly based on fashion and music. Can you name one artist/singer who combines the best of both worlds?
Bowie was pretty incredible at it.
Music is still a big approach in your work. You shot videos with big names as Marina and the Diamonds and Willy Moon. You can choose one singer to shoot the next video for, who would you choose?
I would love to do something with Die Antwoord. They are pretty special.
Photography blogs are turning red these last days. All because of your new exhibition RED HOT. Please tell us, what’s the idea behind the project?
Growing up with red hair in the UK (and other places) can be really tough, especially if you are a boy. What I noticed was the complete lack, even void, of positive role models. It seemed the ultimate women are red heads; Jessica Rabbit, Christina Hendricks – they are sex symbols, and then the classic, romance of the renaissance painting depict a beautiful red haired female. But there simply isn’t the equivalent for boys. Often de-sexualised, de-masculated in film, TV and art. They are depicted as the nerd, runt of the litter, picked last at gym types, either goofy, or angry. Never the leading man or the hero. So as a sort of social experiment, personal crusade, I set about flipping this on its head and re-imagining the ginger male as the ultimate male.
The first photos were just released and it already got some major attention, it seems everybody loves some RED HOT boys. How does it make you feel getting this much love already?
It’s been amazing. I really feel I’ve hit on a good idea that will ultimately be its own thing and will run and run. Its been re blogged on Tumblr over 30 000 times already! I think people can identify with the problem, but also it seems like its some sort of secret, a taboo. People lower their voice and whisper to me: ‘actually I quite fancy ginger boys’. Its brilliant cause it’s making people think. And because it is so specific – just boys – people can really latch on.
Got any RED HOT’s planned to shoot we must know about?
Well I’m shooting 1 or 2 high profile guys for it, there are finally a couple of good role models that have appeared over the last few years.
Who is your dream RED HOT, the perfect red headed person?
Well one of the things I’m going to do is re-imagine all the comic book superhero’s as ginger 🙂
The exhibition is planned for the end off the year. What can we expect to see?
It will be a room filled with very handsome guys in light boxes and photographs flirting at you, seducing you… It will be quite a sexually charged experience. It will be bright, poppy and fun. There will be about 50 portraits and 3 films. Each guy will have a little anecdote next to his picture, so you will learn something about their personal struggles with their identity. There will be carrot cake and ginger nuts being served with ginger beer, obviously.
Last one; you shot these amazing videos for Room Service. What do you order for room service after a long day shooting and partying?
A full English breakfast if its the morning, a burger if its the day, and a G&T if its the night 🙂