John Rankin Waddell*

13.02.2011 in17:55 in Fashion, glamour, New masters, People, Portraits -->


From his iconic shot of Kylie lying naked and prostrate, which graced a million bedroom walls, to the Queen smiling enigmatically in front of the red, white and blue, Rankin’s iconic, intimate portraiture style, and his mischievous eye have gained him a reputation as one of the world’s leading photographers.

Photographer, publisher, and most recently film director; Rankin established his reputation when he launched Dazed & Confused with his business partner Jefferson Hack in 1991. Completely new in its approach, the magazine fused the pair’s editorial vision with Rankin’s photographic talents to present the faces of the time in a less mediated way. Right at the heart of London’s creative explosion that gave rise to the Britpop phenomenon with bands like Blur and Pulp and the accompanying fashion boom and stylists Katie Grand and Katy England and designers such as Alexander McQueen, who have gone on to dominate the industry, it isRankin’s commitment to publishing some of the most ground-breaking magazines of his generation and his support for young photographers that has further earned him a reputation as a leading cultural and trend opinion former. As well as magazinesRankin has produced a string of highly successful exhibitions, ad campaigns and books. He has shot front covers for German Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Arena and GQ.

An infamous workaholic, Rankin has photographed subjects from Kate Moss to the Queen from Tony Blair to Oasis. Looking at his body of work it is also clear that celebrity holds little allure for him, some of his most outstanding images are from a series of nudes featuring ordinary people who answered an advert in Time Out asking how they would like to be photographed. He consistently seduces with his images, by drawing out individual personality, while considering and commenting on broader ideas.

Rising to every challenge, Rankin has never shied from portraying difficult subject matters, addressing issues from domestic violence to body image in both his personal work as well as charity and commercial projects. He made headlines again with his campaign for Dove showing women who differed from the usual stick-thin advertising stereotype. He has shot charity campaigns for Amnesty International, Everyman, Special Olympics, Refuge, Women’s Aid, and a recent project for breast cancer research amongst many others.

Not content with still images, he has turned his lens to filmmaking. The short film he directed for Film Four, ‘Perfect’, was one of the few shorts shown at the Los Angeles, Raindance and Edinburgh film festivals. His first feature film, ‘The Lives of the Saints’, a darkly comic morality tale written by Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and starring an all-British cast, is now available on DVD. Distributed by Tartan films, the film been shown in numerous festivals this year, winning the grand jury prize in Salento.

Rankin has published several books recently. In December 2006 he published the book ‘TuuliTastic’ – A Photographic Love Letter’, featuring an exclusive combination of commissioned fashion, advertising and editorial images of Tuuli, Rankin’s favourite model and muse. In January this year Rankin published ‘Beautyfull’, a book that brings together the most photographed women in the world in a powerful display of beauty. ‘TuuliTastic’ and ‘Beautyfull’ were both accompanied by an intimate exhibition at a central London based Gallery as part of ‘The Series’ – a six-month programme of exhibitions that has been running from November 2006 and will continue until summer 2007. His latest exhibition in this series, ‘Erotica’, is now on (visit for more details).

Rankin has also just published the book ‘Visually Hungry’. Acting as a published retrospective, ‘Visually Hungry’ documents an extraordinary career drawing together over 400 images from two decades worth of work, from his first shoots as a student, to his most recent self-portraits and everything in between, and is a selection Rankin’s favourite photos. Rankin has recently exhibited a selection of his Visually Hungry work at The International Photofestival Knokke-Heist 2007, from1st April – 1st July 2007, (visit for more details)

Rankin lives in London and has an eleven-year-old son, Lyle.

Ранкин — всемирно известный фотограф, издатель, а с недавнего времени еще и режиссер. Он не любит, когда его называют по имени, поэтому только близкие помнят, что его зовут Джон, остальные же с легкостью путают его с другим модным фотографом Гарри Ранкином. Известно, что он учился в лондонской школе искусств, конфликтовал с преподавателями и прославился после первой же персональной выставки, на которой выставил фото собственного эрегированного члена. В начале карьеры его имя было синонимом скандала, эпатажа и всяческой бузы.

Сегодня он респектабелен и серьезен почище любого английского лорда, запросто ходит на чай к королеве, и от него уже никто не ждет никаких выкрутасов, если не считать неожиданных поворотов сюжета в его съемках. Он женат на бывшей модели («Обычное дело для фотографа», — отмечает Ранкин), снимает ее с особым удовольствием, говорит, что была бы его воля, мог бы фотографировать только ее с утра до вечера. А так приходится все время отвлекаться на «новые лица», которые ему «подсовывают» модные журналы.

В 1991 году он с приятелем организовал журнал Dazed&Confused, в котором публиковал в основном собственные фотографии — резкие, неожиданные, шокирующие. Он снимал знаменитостей — актеров, актрис, моделей и художников. Единомышленника он нашел в лице Дэмиена Херста, который сам предложил для своего портрета замотать ему лицо беконом. Глубоко интимные и в то же время ироничные изображения Ранкина очень узнаваемы, ему удалось соединить сексуальность нового времени с чисто английским юмором. Это сочетание присутствует во всех работах фотографа, что неизменно шокирует и заставляет пристальнее присматриваться к предмету изображения. Сейчас его рвут на части Vogue, Harpers, Arena, GQ, а также бизнес-гиганты, заказывающие Ранкину рекламные проекты стоимостью в несколько десятков миллионов долларов. Все они знают, что его работы не останутся незамеченными, как не остался в тени знаменитый сюжет для Canon, когда Ранкин с помощниками затянул стену дома полотном, на котором было напечатано более полутора тысяч фотографий сотрудников этой компании.

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 Women’s 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 Dazed & Confused with Jefferson Hack. One of the most important magazines of the 90’s, it established its stylists in the fashion elite, broke some of today’s 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. Rankin’s 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 90’s. 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. Most recently he travelled to Johannesburg with the BBC to film South Africa in Pictures, a documentary in which he traces the country’s photographic history.

Rankin is affiliated with a number of charities and has created hard-hitting campaigns for Women’s Aid and Oxfam to name but a few.

A number of books of Rankin’s work have been published, including a retrospective of his work, Visually Hungry, a collection of his most recognisable portraits Celebritation, a book of Rankin’s images of his model wife Tuuli Tuulitastic, Alex Box, a collaboration with the avant-garde make-up artist and a book to accompany the BBC documentary, RANKINJOZI.

In addition to his photography career, Rankin has co-directed 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 lives in London with his wife Tuuli and his son Lyle.