When you think of Rankin you might think of glossy magazine spreads, impossibly beautiful celebrities and maybe a touch of arrogance, the man behind the name is not as stereotypical as you might imagine.
Often appearing in Elle magazine, his work inspired me to pursue a career in photography. So it’s no surprise that as soon as I heard he was giving a talk at The Photography Show in Birmingham, I jumped at the chance to book a ticket.
After an impressive presentation of a selection of Rankin’s best work, which including portraits of stars such as David Bowie, Robert Downey Jr. and Kate Moss to name a few, the talk got underway. As the interview progressed I could not help but feel slightly resentful towards Damien Demolder for asking Who? Rather than How? I understand that working with celebrities is a massive part of his work but I could not have been the only one in the crowd that thought there was a leniency towards celebrity orientated questions rather than photography based questions, especially at “The Photography Show”. There is no doubt that Rankin’s client list is as impressive as it is long but I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the information I needed as a student trying to get into the industry.
The conversation progressed and finally some top-secret tips were shared on how to get the best portraits out of people. For example, a good tip was to tell your subject that the camera is a window for them to communicate through to get great expressions. Also to know the importance of maintaining control when you photograph the likes of Miley Cyrus and Her Majesty the Queen. Rankin’s answers were more candid than I anticipated. He even confessed to being obsessed with photographing “willies” at one point, yes you did read that right!
Rankin kept it simple and talked straight and to the point about his images, which I found quite refreshing and real. Overall it was funny, insightful and inspiring. I’d definitely recommend anyone, amateur or professional, if you get the opportunity to hear Rankin talk, don’t hesitate. For me it was a dream-come-true to meet my photography hero in the flesh and worth every penny. He even had time for a handshake and a picture at the end.
BY AMY SHELDON