Meet Legend of Light : Chris Knight
Tell us a little about yourself… Who you are, where you’re from, what you shoot/specialize in.
My name is Chris Knight, and I’m a portrait photographer based in New York. I was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, grew up in Florida, and have been in New York for about seven years.
How did you get started in photography?
When I was much younger, I wanted to grow up to make movies. My friends and I would band together and make short films for fun. As I grew up, the direction changed to broadcast journalism – which is what I actually went to school to study. After graduation, I realized it wasn’t for me and started taking photography more seriously. It was instant love and it’s never let up.
What/who are some of your main influences?
Inspiration comes from a lot of different directions. Sometimes it’s movies. Other times it’s photography (Herb Ritts, Albert Watson, Eugenio Recuenco, Erwin Olaf, Gregory Crewdson, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon). Old paintings are definitely a huge source of inspiration for me. I love the Baroque period probably the most – Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Vermeer.
When did you start shooting with Profoto?
I’ve been shooting with Profoto since I was assisting almost 10 years ago. I stick with what I like and what works.
What Profoto gear are you currently using?
For me, I’m most happy with a couple of lights (usually Profoto D1 500w) and a few choices of modifiers. I like a big umbrella with diffusion (L or XL Deep White Profoto Umbrella).
Do you have a favorite lighting setup?
Whatever works best for the job at hand.
What is the most important piece of advice you’ve received pertaining to photography?
The importance of figuring out your voice. For me I don’t think that a strong personal style is a component of success, but success oftentimes follows a development of a strong personal style. That’s not to say that this is true for everyone, but I believe that the strongest work is driven by a purer sense of its intentions – meaning, don’t create work because you think will be stylistically successful. Instead, create work that is uniquely your own, and if it speaks to others, you will be sought out because of what you are able to bring to the table.
What is your biggest challenge being a portrait photographer? How do you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me as a portrait photographer is always making a connection with the subject and drawing out from them the expression and mood that I’m looking to find. Sometimes if they are a higher profile person, I try to do research on them ahead of time. Communicate as effectively as possible. For me, connection to the session is paramount for the success of the images.
What is your dream assignment?
Whenever I am able to create work that I’m excited to create - and feels like me – is pretty awesome.
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