Biography

Synonymous with compelling portraiture, Rankin’s lens captures, creates and unveils icons.

Rankin made his name in publishing, founding the seminal monthly magazine Dazed & Confused with Jefferson Hack in 1992. It provided a platform for emerging stylists, designers, photographers and writers. The magazine went on to forge a distinctive mark in the arts and publishing spheres, and developed a cult status forming and moulding trends. It is responsible for bringing some of the biggest names in fashion to the foreground. Today, Dazed Media is a leading online fashion and cultural brand.

As both a photographer and director, Rankin has created landmark advertising and editorial campaigns. His body of work features some of the biggest and most celebrated publications, brands and charities, including Nike, L’Oreal, Dove, Pantene, Diageo, and Woman’s Aid. He has shot covers for the likes of Elle, Vogue, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone and Wonderland.

Tapping into the consciousness of the 90s and 00s with his intimate approach and playful sense of humour, Rankin became known for his portraiture of bands, artists, supermodels and politicians. Having photographed everyone from the Queen of England to the Queen of Pop, Rankin is often seen as a celebrity photographer. However, his plethora of campaigns and projects featuring ‘real women’ marked him out as a genuinely passionate portrait photographer. Always pursuing projects that push his limits, Rankin has stood out for his creative fearlessness. His work characteristically probes and questions social norms and ideas of beauty. Personal or commercial, his images have become part of contemporary iconography, evidence of his frankness and zeal for all aspects of modern culture.

A film fanatic, Rankin turned his hand to directing in the late 90s. Between 2002 and 2009, he co-directed commercials, music videos and short films with Chris Cottam, including their debut feature film, The Lives of Saints. Written by Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), it won the Grand Jury prize at the Salento International Film Festival.

Under the eponymous banner of Rankin Film, Rankin continues to direct dynamic and contemporary films for the likes of Nike, Neutrogena and L’Oreal. Rankin Film reps a roster of the hottest directing talent working today, creating outstanding work within the worlds of advertising, fashion and music.

In recent years, Rankin has produced and presented documentaries, primarily with the BBC, such as “The Seven Photographs that Changed Fashion”, “No Body’s Perfect”, and “Alive: In the Face of Death”, an in-depth documentary into the modern approach to death. Taking on the role of Executive Producer, he founded Collabor8te, in association with The Bureau and Dazed TV, calling on scriptwriters and directors to submit narrative film ideas, producing them for the international film festival circuit.

Rankin has published over 40 books and is regularly exhibited in galleries around the world, as well as his own London gallery. He launched “The Cast” in 2016, a book collaboration with the British Independent Film Awards that documents the great and the good of the British film industry. His most provocative exhibition to date, “Naked”, launched at Kunsthuis Amsterdam in late 2017, with a collection of new nude photography.

His affiliation with charities has seen Rankin travel the world, creating powerful campaigns both as a photographer and a director. Having worked with Comic Relief in 2015, he returned in 2017 to create the t-shirts and merchandise for a record-breaking Red Nose Day. His 2017 campaign with Macmillan Cancer Support went viral as people were encouraged to Brave the Shave.

In 2009, Rankin undertook the biggest project of his career – Rankin Live, a mammoth interactive spectacle and exhibition. Always interested in the democratisation of the image, Rankin proved that everyone can look like a magazine cover star as, for 7 straight weeks, he photographed people off the street, one every 15 minutes – retouching, printing and hanging the image within half an hour of the shutter being fired. Rankin Live has been rolled out around the world, for events, campaigns, exhibitions and openings.

In 2001, Jefferson and Rankin launched AnOther Magazine, with a focus on fashion, originality, and distinction. In response to the expanding menswear market, in 2005 AnOther Man was introduced, combining intelligent editorial with ground-breaking design and style. More recently, the Dazed Group has established itself as an online authority, via AnOthermag.com, Dazeddigital.com and Dazedtv.com.

After a hiatus from the world of magazines, Rankin returned to publishing with Hunger in 2011. A biannual fashion, culture and lifestyle magazine, Hunger and its associated Hunger TV website – a video-based digital platform featuring in-depth interviews, fashion films, blogs, and previews – embraced a future that is both printed and digital. 2017 saw the celebration of Hunger’s thirteenth and biggest issue to date.

Rankin lives in London with his wife Tuuli and their four dogs, Tombi, Pickle, Beans and Squidge.