Rankin: the Artist

Topics: Photography, Jefferson Hack, Creativity Pages: 5 (1608 words) Published: May 30, 2008
John Rankin Waddell
John Rankin Waddell, better known under his working title Rankin, is one of the world’s leading portrait and fashion photographers. His subjects have included Kylie Minogue, Kate Moss and Queen Elizabeth II. With a vastly expansive portfolio career filled with portraits, advertising campaign and fashion photography, the growing reputation of Rankin as a photographer seems unstoppable. He currently lives in King's Cross, central London, with his ten-year-old son Lyle (Biography 2005). Early Years

Rankin was born in 1966 in Paisley, Glasgow, as John Rankin Waddell. His high school directed him into accounting but he soon realised this was not his calling in life. In a 2002 interview with The Independent, Rankin explains that his first year of study changed his perspective on what he wanted to do: "I realised I was narrow-minded, that my parents had sheltered me a bit... I lost interest in accountancy and decided to be a photographer." (Rankin in Cripps 2002). With his newfound interest in photography, Rankin put together a portfolio and was accepted into the London College of Printing. It was whilst undertaking his degree in photography that Rankin met his future colleague Jefferson Hack. Together they produced the college magazine Succession. After his time at the London College of Printing, Rankin took a year out to work for the student union. In this time he continued to work on and produce Succession as well as delving into freelance work designing flyers and shooting amateur portraits.

Creative Products and People
Rankin's 'big break' came 1992 when he and Hack co-founded British style mag Dazed & Confused. Still considered to be at the forefront of popular culture, D&C focuses on youth based trends within music, art, fashion, film and literature. "Dazed & Confused was always about creating our own magazine, and then giving others a platform, letting them work for us...We helped others. We loved ideas. We loved life. We were young and excited" (Rankin in Cripps 2002). Dazed and Confused generated excitement not only amongst its editors but also amongst a number of celebrities, the first of whom was Björk, who featured on the cover of issue #16. A constant string of high profile celebrity photo shoots followed, including his iconic shot of Kylie Minogue lying naked and prostrate, and the Queen smiling enigmatically in front of the Union Jack (Biography 2005). Rankin continues to edit Dazed and Confused and also publishes Another Magazine and car magazine Intersection. In addition to this Rankin launched his own quarterly fashion magazine, RANK, in December 2000 (Rankin). As well as producing magazines, Rankin is a renowned advertising director and photographer. One of his better-known advertisements was the immensely successful Dove Real Beauty campaign in 2003. Following all of his success, Rankin then turned his lens to filmmaking and in 2006 directed The Lives of the Saints, a London-set gangster film written by Toni Grisoni.

Creative Career
Rankin’s range of creative activities spans from full-scale feature films and photo shoots with pop culture icons to the mundane and everyday. “I'm completely obsessed with taking pictures of my self in passport photo booths... I also love the fun photo booths were you can become Tarzan.... I never stick them anywhere; I always keep the sheets complete.” (Rankin in Hack, 21). His larger scale creative endeavours make up an impressive portfolio career (Hartley 2005, 3) which includes a feature film, advertising campaigns, photography, books, music videos, as well as being the creative director for Italian denim label Meltin' Pot.

Rankin is a self-professed workaholic. His book, entitled Rankin Works released in 2000, is entirely dedicated to his love of work. 'I do work hard… and I love taking pictures’ (Rankin in Golden,1998) While he claims his first love is photography, and is more commonly known for his portraiture, Rankin continues to work in...
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