“There’s always a way to find honesty in a picture”

 © Rankin Photography Ltd.

Rankin is an icon in the world of contemporary photography, He is much more than a fashion and portrait photographer. He is more than a man with an eye for highlighting a new concept from an advertising photo. He is, essentially, an explorer of faces and scenes, capable of conveying a story so as to show what lies under the skin of the world. Rankin’s portfolio is one of the most impressive you’ll ever see. In his career he has photographed the portraits of so many legends from music, fashion, film, television, politicians and artists such as Kate Moss, Spice Girls, Lily Allen, Britney Spears, Kevin Spacey, Cate Blanchett, Queen Elizabeth II, The Rolling  Stones, Madonna, Juliette Binoche, Björ, Heidi Klum and more. In addition to his great work profile, Rankin and has done campaigns for well-known brands and he has shot covers for Elle, German Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone and Wonderland. He’s also made a name for himself in publishing by launching groundbreaking magazines Dazed & ConfusedAnOtherAnOther Man, and, most recently, Hunger, in 2011. Throughout his career he has always avoided stagnation or repetition, he is constantly evolving. He challenges what he has learnt and is meticulous in every detail. The result of his work makes us focus on what makes us think, only to realise that the true reality is that there are multiple realities. Rankin has always dedicated time to charity projects, working with The British Skin Foundation, Breakthrough Cancer, Women’s Aid, End of the Line and Sightsavers, to name a few. And he also has a long-standing affiliation with Oxfam. He has published over 30 books, is regularly exhibited in galleries around the world, as well as his own London gallery. Rankin is the artist he is today owing to the fact that he has made his own language and his own plentiful and creative universe.

Among his current projects, a new collaboration with Southbank Centre to showcase selected members of Britain’s cultural industries chosen by the Southbank including Grayson and Philippa Perry, Paris Lees, Marc Almond, the Fabulous Fashionistas, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Joanna Lumley, Jenny Beavan, Grace Victory, Prince Cassius and Gemma Cairney amongst others modelling a range of specially designed and limited edition jewellery influenced by the interplay of light on and within Southbank Centre’s historic buildings.

 © Rankin Photography Ltd/Southbank Centre

The series of portraits, commissioned for Southbank Centre’s Let the Light In campaign,  feature jewellery created by prominent UK designers Tatty Devine and Wolf & Moon, alongside up-and-coming makers including Maria Allen and Materia. The portraits will be showcased in a special pop up exhibition in the Royal Festival Hall until 23rd December.
The jewellery will be sold in Southbank Centre’s Festival Terrace shop and online shop , with all proceeds going to Southbank Centre’s Let the Light In campaign to refurbish its iconic Brutalist arts venues Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward.  http://bit.ly/2goPAuS
  • What did this new collaboration with the London’s Southbank Centre and their fundraising campaign “Let The Light In” mean for you, personally speaking, and why the people should see this exhibition? 


The Southbank Centre – specifically the Royal Festival Hall – was where I first saw my work exhibited publicly, back in a competition in 1989. So, as the beginning of the road for me, it holds a special place in my heart. It’s the focal point of London culture and everything we can do to protect and improve it should be done wholeheartedly. I was very happy to be involved.

 © Rankin Photography Ltd.
Southbank Centre

  • You have always dedicated time to charity projects, working with Sightsavers, Women’s Aid, End of the Line, Breakthrough Cancer, and the British Skin Foundation, to name a few. If you could give one photography tip to organisations using pictures to tell their stories, what would it be? 


Be honest. That’s always the best way to deliver your message. Honesty is often the way to evoke emotion and that’s what photography is all about to me. We’ve all seen enough staged and posed photographs to see through them. There’s always a way to find honesty in a picture. It might be hard, it might be easy, but it’s worth the chase!

“There’s always a way to find honesty in a picture”.

  • What has your profession taught you and which images would you say have been the most significant for you in your career so far? 


From the earliest days, I learned photography was a business as well as an art form. You need to try and stay on top of the business side to let the creative side flourish.


I guess photographing the Queen was a pretty special moment for me. As was David Bowie. I had to really fight for that one, as none of my team were up for it.  No regrets.
The Queen II

Queen Elizabeth II
Rankin Photography Ltd.

  • How do you capture genuine personality from a celebrity and get past the traditional publicity still or glamour shot? 


It’s the same whether it’s a celebrity or not. Everyone gets nervous in front of the camera. It’s up to me to make them feel comfortable and encourage them to reveal something about them that they wouldn’t have expected to reveal. It’s very honest and collaborative, and a lot of fun.

 © Rankin Photography Ltd.

“Everyone gets nervous in front of the camera. It’s up to me to make them feel comfortable and encourage them to reveal something about them that they wouldn’t have expected to reveal. It’s very honest and collaborative, and a lot of fun.”

  • Who is your all-time favorite celebrity to work with? 

Heidi Klum. She’s a force of nature, a good friend and long term collaborator. There’s nothing like being on set with Heidi.
  • If you could photograph a historical figure, who would it be and why? 

Bernini. I can’t believe a human being created these works of art!

“I learned photography was a business as well as an art form."

  • Some photographers say that they see the world differently, and that they have a different perspective on life. What is your perspective on the world and on life? 


I’ve always had something to say, I guess. On society and how photography has been treated as an art form. I believe in democracy, ultimately. That the good will always out, one way or another. And that we should all do our bit where we can.

“Photography is the same. It isn’t some inaccessible, elitist thing… it should be for everyone to understand and appreciate."

 © Rankin Photography Ltd.

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