British photographer Nick Knight is using 3D printing to alter traditional perceptions of photography, calling his new technique “Photographic Sculptures”.
Knight is the founder and director of SHOWstudio and has won awards for his editorial work in W Magazine, Dazed & Confused and Vogue. The photographer has been working on the concept of 3D photography for over ten years, and has produced massive 3D printed sculptures of supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.
Writing for CNN, he said: “Simply explained, photographic sculpture starts with a 3D scan of the subject and ends with a physical sculpture printed out (or sintering) using the data of the scan.”
Photographic Sculptures in Polystyrene and Porcelain
In order to create the 3D sculptures, Knight conducts a photo shoot as per usual. “I use exactly the same approach I do as when I photograph someone,” he says. “The same directing, the same searching for shape and form, the same desire to portray their emotion.”
But the finished result is not a photographic print, but instead a physical 3D object. Knight said: “This is a photograph as sculpture — I haven’t chiseled away at a block of marble or pushed huge chunks of clay into forms, I have used every skill I would as a photographer, yet the end result is an physical object.”
He has begun researching which materials work best and found that apart from materials like bronze or marble, new modern options used in high performance sports technology or by NASA work perfectly.
The first sculpture Knight created was a 25-foot-tall white polystyrene triple exposure of Naomi Campbell, based loosely on Warhol’s ‘3 Elvis’ in form.
His sculpture was displayed during the SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution exhibition at Somerset House in London, with more details hosted on the SHOWStudio website.
People from around the world could draw or write on the version online, and whatever they wrote was then projected in real time onto the sculpture in the gallery, which made for an interesting social experiment as well as a beautiful piece of art.
The second sculpture Knight created was of Kate Moss, and he worked with one of the finest porcelain makers in the world, Nyphenburg in Germany.
They sculpted Kate as a fallen angel and used data Knight had provided, which he describes as being essentially a direct mathematical and optical recording of her form.
Knight said: “Photographic sculpture is the beginning of a totally new age in art when all the traditional boundaries between the arts crumble and vanish. And that thrills me!”
Check out the video below for one of Knight’s early experiments in 3D modeling… using an executive toy!
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