An explicit homage to Andy Warhol’s Thirteen Most Beautiful Women(1964) screen tests, Nick Knight’s strategy for More Beautiful Women was simply to ask models to stand in front of the video camera for two minutes until told to stop.
This ongoing film project evolved out of a straightforward experiment conducted by Knight during his editorial commission to photograph the most famous fashion models of the twentieth century for the Millennium issue of British Vogue magazine. The results featuring many iconic mannequins who had gone into retirement, such as Marisa Berenson, Pilar Crespi, Marie Helvin, Dorian Leigh Parker, Twiggy, Penelope Tree, as well as the most famous contemporary names - Kate, Gisele, Claudia, Linda, Naomi - are complex, varied and sometimes challenging.
Rather than collaborating with Knight to create a series of summative, still pictures determined by the photographer’s vocal instruction and the sound of the shutter release, the models are denied the structure of the conventional fashion sitting and must therefore direct themselves. For some, the 120 seconds stretching ahead are evidently unbearable; others are completely at ease in front of the video camera. In the context of the fashion studio and away from the Warholian world of wannabe celebrity, More Beautiful Women poses questions about the act of modelling, and what happens to the fashion photograph when the photographer’s directorial control is removed.