Now appearing at Rizzoli is RANKIN's latest book: Unfashionable. It is rich with fashion and beauty images and almost a kind of autobiographical look into the visual mind of the exceptional London-based photographer, who has also made a name for himself as a director and publisher. The book contains contributions by make-up artist Andrew Gallimore, stylist and Love Editor Katie Grand, by Co-Founder of Dazed & Confused and AnOther, Jefferson Hack, as well as supermodel and living legend Kate Moss.
A photographer who has defined the aesthetics and attitudes of the 1990s and 2000s, Rankin’s influence continues to be seen everywhere, from fashion editorials to cinematography, graphic design, and music videos for artists from Rita Ora to Miley Cyrus. Edited by the photographer himself, and drawing from thirty years of work, this is the first retrospective of Rankin’s full career in fashion photography. From early provocative portraiture in the late 1980s through his founding with Jefferson Hack of the fashion bibles of the 1990s and 2000s, Dazed & Confused and AnOther Magazine, to his iconic monographs and bi-annual fashion and culture magazine Hunger and its pioneering digital platform, Hunger TV. Rankin’s work has defined the face of popular culture for generations.
Presented in reverse chronology, with a nod to a continuing spirit of contradiction, Unfashionable moves from Rankin’s most iconic portraiture and documentary work through his ground breaking fashion shoots and back to his earliest Polaroids. With contributions from Rankin and several of his influences, peers, subjects, and admirers, this is the definitive look at one of the most profound influences on fashion and photography work today.
Curated by Rankin. Here an exclusive GoSee Interview for this new and wonderful book:
We know you are a photoholic. What is left to do/to shoot after 30 years?
There’s everything left to shoot, that’s the amazing thing. The world is constantly changing; there are new creatives, new models, new designers, new make-up artists all doing amazing things. Also I’ve got a hit-list of heroes I’ve not photographed yet – if anyone knows Barack Obama or Sean Penn, send them my way! Culture is so diverse, and from a portraiture perspective, there are still so many stories to tell.
How many pictures did not make it into the book?
At one point the book edit was over 3000 pages long, so a lot! It was a tough task to edit it down and, whilst I love what we’ve done, I know there is a lot more imagery to be mined for future projects.
And how many did you shoot in 30 years in total? Any idea?
How many shoots? That’s a difficult question. I’m addicted to photography, I’m shooting every day. Whether its a commercial project, a magazine editorial or just me photographing my dogs, I’m never far away from my camera.
The book focuses on fashion and beauty. Is that how you see yourself?
Honestly no. I’ve been described as nearly everything from celebrity photographer to fashion photographer, but I’ve always thought of myself as a portrait photographer. Every shoot I do is a collaboration between me and the subject; I work with them and bring out aspects of their character to tell stories. An image might be on the surface to sell clothes or a make-up brand, but ultimately, I like to think they reveal something about the person I’m shooting and humanity in general.
You mentioned your portraits – can you tell us a bit more?
People fascinate me, I’m really inquisitive about them. I love meeting new people and getting inside their heads. For me, that’s the key to great portraiture, talking to people and understanding them. Whether they are models, celebrities or regular people, I always talk incessantly to them on set. You need to get to know them before you can capture something about their personalities. Portraiture for me is all about making a connection with my subject, building up a rapport, which in the end the viewer also feels.
You shoot so many social campaigns – any special cause that has your fullest support?
I’ve always worked with charities; it’s an important part of my life and my career. I don’t think I can say which cause I support the most as every campaign I do means something different to me. That’s why I’ve worked with charities from Battersea Cats & Dogs Home to The British Heart Foundation, Woman’s Aid, Comic Relief, World Cancer Research Fund, and Mencap – I’ve always felt if you’re in a position to shine a light on a topic, it’s your social obligation to do it.
30 years is a long time. If you look back – any regrets?
I think everyone has something they’d go back and change if they could. But there’s no point living in the past. Recently, I’ve been thinking more about FOMO and how its stunting people’s enjoyment of the present – always thinking that something better is happening elsewhere. So I’ve decided to let it go and enjoy what I’m doing now.
London is a huge fashion-photography-trend-melting-hotspot-pot. Is Brexit a theme you talk about at all?
I’ve not shied away from the fact that I think Brexit is bad news, particularly in the creative world. Since we joined the EU, the conversation between London and European cities like Berlin, Milan and Copenhagen has produced some of the best work across the industry. I made work to support the Stronger In campaign during the referendum, and I’m currently asking people to write to their MPs to have the #FinalSay on Brexit.
What is to do, where to go right now in London? Any museum, exhibition, restaurant, bar you can recommend as a hot spot?
Everyone should go to see the V&A’s new photography wing, they’ve doubled the room they have to show photography, and it’s great to see more from their archive out on public display again. For something more contemporary, my studio is around the corner from the Zabludowicz Collection, and their current Rachel Maclean show is interesting – she’s a mix of Paul MacCarthy meets Cindy Sherman, producing surreal political video art. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it’s worth taking a look. For a restaurant, you’ll find me at J Sheekey – I’d wager that they have the best seafood in London.
R A N K I N – UNFASHIONABLE . 30 YEARS OF FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY . October 2018 . Format: Hardcover . Publisher: Rizzoli . Trim Size: 10 x 12 inches, Pages: 324 . US Price: $65.00, UK Price: £50.00 . ISBN: 978-0-8478-6217-7