Twin Peaks, Linda Evangelista for Jil Sander, 1991
In the early 1980s virtually the only way colour was shown in photographs was to use transparency film, sometimes negative film, but always trying to give a ‘reality to the colours’. I wanted to have the same degree of control over colour as I had control over black and white. Marc Ascoli, the brilliant Italian/Tunisian art director I worked with on Yohji Yamamoto, Jil Sander and Martine Sitbon’s campaigns, challenged me to propose to him a colour image that had the same power as black and white. The answer came when I took transparency film and processed it in developer intended for negative film, the result was a saturated, high contrast colour negative which when printed had very vivid colours. I could only find one lab in the whole of London who was prepared to do this, ( all the rest refused and said it would ruin the chemicals ) the tiny and wonderfully named BDI colour Labs, run by Brian Dowling.
Brian’s skill as a printer is phenomenal, as was his patience working with me, but mostly his endless enthusiasm made for some of the happiest and most rewarding printing of my life. After this BDI became the one place in the world that could create this new colour photography and consequently became the hub of an active and excited fashion photography community. Images for every important brand were later printed there and photographers such as Glen Luchford, David Sims, Corinne Day, Juergen Teller and Craig McDean to name just a few, would all pass through there. This picture of Linda Evangelista and the one of Shalom Harlow are prints that took literally days to master. Long printing sessions into the night to achieve the sort of skin tones that I felt reflected how I imagined the modern world should look. - Nick Knight