Born in Glasgow, he was brought up in St Albans, Hertfordshire. After being expelled from school, he briefly studied accountancy at Brighton Polytechnic before moving to Peckham and studying photography at the London College of Printing, which he left to found Dazed & Confused with Jefferson Hack in 1991, assisted by a £50,000 loan from his father.
He launched his own quarterly fashion magazine, RANK, in December 2000. In 2002 he launched, with art gallery owner Alex Proud, a photographic book imprint, Vision On. He also publishes Another Magazine and more recently Another Man. He continues to work in fashion, advertising and for magazines internationally. He is divorced from the actress Kate Hardie.
Rankin recently moved into film production with his project The Lives of the Saints, a gangster film set in London.
Rankin was recently the photographer for Regatta’s upcoming advertising campaign featuring outdoor loving celebrities such as Bill Oddie, Janet Street-Porter, Michaela Strachan and ex-Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan.
In January 2009 BBC 4 broadcast his 1 hour documentary Seven Photographs that Changed Fashion in which he created his own tributes to the iconic images by Cecil Beaton, Erwin Blumenfeld, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, David Bailey and Guy Bourdin. He interviewed an array of original photographers, models and assistants, and used contemporary models including Heidi Klum, Erin O'Connor, Jade Parfitt, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, his girlfriend Tuuli Shipster, Mollie Gondi, Daphne Guinness and David Gandy.
Rankin was also involved with controversial reality show...