In his most ambitious project yet, Rankin
is creating a portrait of contemporary Britain, photographing 1,000 people from across the UK. Selected either for their distinct sense of style, vibrant personalities or individual life stories, from the thousands who have applied to take part, those chosen will be part of a unique visual document that captures a broad spectrum of British culture through Rankins eyes.
For the first time, Rankin opens the doors to his studio and reveals a world often perceived of as elite. Shoot Me, Rankin! offers everyone the chance to step into the world of high end photography and become part of an audacious interactive show within Rankins forthcoming exhibition, Rankin Live!. Individuals will stand in front of the same lens as the Queen, Kate Moss, Robert Downey Jr., and Daniel Craig, and experience what it feels like to be photographed by arguably the most influential photographer of his generation.
Any time Rankin takes a picture he knows what he wants, and there is really no chance of being anyone but who you are, even if you try. You can trust him. I trust him." Kate Moss.
Once shot, the images will be immediately hung as part of the museum-scale exhibition Rankin Live! at the Old Truman Brewery, creating an ever-changing and evolving showcase of Rankins contemporary and archive work.
And for those who wish to turn the camera on others rather than be subjects themselves, visitors to the exhibition can observe Rankin himself at work, while his online guide, How to shoot like Rankin, which accompanies the exhibition, shows celebrity contributors demonstrating Rankins techniques.
Famous in fifteen minutes, from hair and makeup to a portrait on public view, this show is a fascinating subversion of the glamorisation of public figures in an age of celebrity obsession, and an empowering process for the many individuals taking part.
As Rankin has observed, most people hate having their photograph taken and celebrities are no exception. Shoot Me Rankin! demystifies the process and allows people to discover their own beauty.
Rankin says of the project, I wanted to make people think about the images and adverts that surround them. I didnt want it to be an X-Factor project. These are not reality TV stars. Its quite the opposite. This project is about investing people with a sense of empowerment that springs from inside themselves. I dont want to be beautifying England, but showing that anyone can be beautiful if they can trust themselves to be.
Shoot Me Rankin! is a natural evolution for the photographer, who loves the challenge of working outside his comfort zone and photographing ordinary people as well as celebrities. To date, Rankin has photographed some 250 individuals for the show, with the remaining 750 to be shot before and during Rankin Retrospective. The shoots so far have been a revelation, on both an emotional and professional level.
This has, and continues to be, an extraordinary experience. People come in so nervous, its amazing to see their transformation in front of the camera. I cant wait for the exhibition to kick off. Its going to be exceptional. I want people to come and engage, to come and change their opinions. I want it to have a positive lasting impact on the people involved and those who come and visit. Its an amazing opportunity for me, as my celebrity work doesnt allow me to contribute in such a way.
Synonymous with dynamic and intimate portraiture, the photographer Rankin has shot everyone from royalty to refugees. His powerful images are part of contemporary iconography, and mix a cross section of his own personal interests with commercial campaigns, from Nike to Womens Aid. His work is regularly exhibited in galleries around the world from Sao Paolo to Moscow, London to LA.
Rankin first came to prominence when he co-founded style bible Dazed & Confused with Jefferson Hack. One of the most important magazines of the 90s, it established its stylists in the fashion elite, broke some of todays top designers and nurtured the budding careers of a generation of creative photographers.
Earning a reputation for creative portraiture and a talent for capturing the character and spirit of his subjects, Rankin quickly became a formidable force in photography, shooting Brit-pop bands including Pulp and Blur and darlings of pop such as Kylie and Madonna. Rankins career continued to blossom and covers for German Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Arena and GQ quickly followed.
His body of work includes some of the most influential politicians, popular musicians, revered artists and celebrated models since the early 90s. However, Rankin also continued to take on projects that featured ordinary people, often questioning established notions of beauty and causing controversy and igniting debates along the way.
Rankin is affiliated with a number of charities and has created hard-hitting campaigns for Womens Aid and Oxfam to name but a few. In 2008, Rankin held an exhibition of his images of refuges in the Congo on the South Bank in London, which helped raise money and awareness for Oxfams projects in the Congo.
A number of books of Rankins work have been published, including a retrospective of his work, Visually Hungry, a collection of his most recognisable portraits Celebritation, a book of Rankins images of his favourite model Tuuli Tuulitastic and most recently a book of his advertising work from 2005 to 2009 called Sold Out.
In addition to his photography career, Rankin co-directs music videos, commercials and feature films with Chris Cottam. Their debut film, The Lives of Saints, penned by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas writer Tony Grisoni, enjoyed success on the festival circuit and won the grand jury prize at the Salento International Film Festival. Rankin and Chris continue to direct commercial projects and have created music videos for among others, Nelly Furtado, Robyn and The Enemy.
Rankin lives in London with his fiancé Tuuli and his 13 year old son Lyle.
Rankin Live! runs at the Truman Brewery from 31st July to 10th September for more information visit www.rankin.co.uk