From his iconic shot of Kylie lying naked and prostrate, which graced a million bedroom walls, to the Queen smiling enigmatically in front of the red, white and blue, Rankin’s iconic, intimate portraiture style, and his mischievous eye have gained him a reputation as one of the world's leading photographers.
Photographer, publisher, and most recently film director; Rankin established his reputation when he launched Dazed & Confused with his business partner Jefferson Hack in 1991. Completely new in its approach, the magazine fused the pair’s editorial vision with Rankin’s photographic talents to present the faces of the time in a less mediated way. Right at the heart of London’s creative explosion that gave rise to the Britpop phenomenon with bands like Blur and Pulp and the accompanying fashion boom and stylists Katie Grand and Katy England and designers such as Alexander McQueen, who have gone on to dominate the industry, it is Rankin’s commitment to publishing some of the most ground-breaking magazines of his generation and his support for young photographers that has further earned him a reputation as a leading cultural and trend opinion former. As well as magazines Rankin has produced a string of highly successful exhibitions, ad campaigns and books. He has shot front covers for German Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Arena and GQ.
An infamous workaholic, Rankin has photographed subjects from Kate Moss to the Queen from Tony Blair to Oasis. Looking at his body of work it is also clear that celebrity holds little allure for him, some of his most outstanding images are from a series of nudes featuring ordinary people who answered an advert in Time Out asking how they would like to be photographed. He consistently seduces with his images, by drawing out individual personality, while considering and commenting on broader ideas.
Rising to every challenge, Rankin has never shied from portraying difficult subject matters, addressing issues from domestic violence to body image in both his personal work as well as charity and commercial projects. He made headlines again with his campaign for Dove showing women who differed from the usual stick-thin advertising stereotype. He has shot charity campaigns for Amnesty International, Everyman, Special Olympics, Refuge, Women’s Aid, and a recent project for breast cancer research amongst many others.
Not content with still images, he has turned his lens to filmmaking. The short film he directed for Film Four, ‘Perfect’, was one of the few shorts shown at the Los Angeles, Raindance and Edinburgh film festivals. His first feature film, ‘The Lives of the Saints’, a darkly comic morality tale written by Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and starring an all-British cast, is now available on DVD. Distributed by Tartan films, the film been shown in numerous festivals this year, winning the grand jury prize in Salento.
Rankin has published several books recently. In December 2006 he published the book ‘TuuliTastic' - A Photographic Love Letter’, featuring an exclusive combination of commissioned fashion, advertising and editorial images of Tuuli, Rankin’s favourite model and muse. In January this year Rankin published ‘Beautyfull’, a book that brings together the most photographed women in the world in a powerful display of beauty. ‘TuuliTastic’ and ‘Beautyfull’ were both accompanied by an intimate exhibition at a central London based Gallery as part of ‘The Series’ – a six-month programme of exhibitions that has been running from November 2006 and will continue until summer 2007. His latest exhibition in this series, ‘Erotica’, is now on (visit www.rankin.co.uk for more details).
Rankin has also just published the book ‘Visually Hungry’. Acting as a published retrospective, ‘Visually Hungry’ documents an extraordinary career drawing together over 400 images from two decades worth of work, from his first shoots as a student, to his most recent self-portraits and everything in between, and is a selection Rankin’s favourite photos. Rankin has recently exhibited a selection of his Visually Hungry work at The International Photofestival Knokke-Heist 2007, from1st April – 1st July 2007, (visit www.fotofestival.be/EN/ for more details)
Rankin lives in London and has an eleven-year-old son, Lyle.
Breeding: A Study of Sexual Ambiguity
Dazed Books Slipcase edition
September 15, 2004
October 19, 2001
October 1, 2000
Sofa Sexy: Turning a Cheap Sofa into an Object of Desire
Vision On Publishing
August 29, 2002
Publisher: Vision On Publishing
Vision On Publishing