Monday, June 27, 2011

5 Minutes With Rankin

Rankin is a Photographer and director who lives and works in North London. Over the last 22 years he has earned a reputation for his exceptional portraiture and is repeatedly commissioned for global advertising campaigns, editorial features and is exhibited in galleries around the world. As a director, he frequently shoots music videos, commercials and documentaries as well as directing an award-winning feature film, The Lives of the Saints.

Rankin studied Photography at London College of Printing. During this time, Rankin met Jefferson Hack, with whom he formed a working relationship. The two decided to start a magazine together called Dazed & Confused once they had graduated. And the rest is history...

Q1. What was the first record you bought and what effect did it have on you?

The first record I bought was by the Beatles. It was Live at the Hollywood Bowl. I was late getting a record player, my parents didn’t own one, so I think I was about 13. We all just listened to the radio. It did have an amazing effect on me. Since then I have been a life long Beatles fan and I’ve never got bored with them. However it was The Who and The Jam that I really became obsessed by, pouring over all of their album sleeves. Looking for details that would tell me a little bit about the bands I loved so much.

Rankin by Jarvis Cocker.

Q2. When did you start taking photographs and who or what influenced you to do that?

When I was 20, I started taking pictures and realized photography was what I really wanted to do. So I dropped accountancy and went back to my A-levels, back two years almost-to study photography. At that time I wanted to be a photojournalist, as I’d seen a show by W. Eugene Smith, who’s work I loved and admired. But I realised pretty quickly that I was more of a portrait photographer, I was a bit shy on the street and couldn’t get my head round the decisive moment. Eventually I moved on to Bailey and Avedon. I love their work and they have both inspired me to try to have my own vision.

Q3. The photography in Dazed & Confused defined the 1990's. Do you think that rapid information exchange via the Internet means that print is a dying form of media?

I don't think print will ever die, there is something incredible about the feel and look of print, whether book,magazine or a just a print in a gallery.

Q4. How did you become involved with Oxfam?

I was asked to do some celebrity images for them and at that point I suggested that perhaps I could do more – go to a conflict zone, or something like that and take portraits in my style. I really believe in the work Oxfam do and try to support them as much as possible. I hope that my photographs can help people understand that we are all human beings and we should help each other. It’s not about pity and powerlessness, it's about making people realise that we need to respect other humans.

Q5. Give us a really off the wall anecdote/story. Something that not many people will know about-could be about anything related to your work.

I guess one of the most unusual things I do is present documentaries on photography. I’ve done three so far and I’m just filming the fourth one, all for the BBC. I love photography and photographers, so it’s a great way to meet and learn about people who’s work I admire. But I feel a bit of an idiot being a presenter, as I’m not that comfortable being in front of the camera, so make lots of gaffs! I also love chicken pie!

The Noisettes - Ever Fallen In Love

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