A new monthly newsletter from the Strategy team at RANKIN CREATIVE where we look to uncover perspective-changing moments from the world's most inspiring creative thinkers.

Our aim is for you to get a feel for how we think and work, maybe even to have the same effect on you as our boss RANKIN does on us: inspire you to question the norm, look at problems from a new perspective and give you the fearless confidence to break boundaries. 

Be it exploring the growing disdain for the term girl boss, activism in Russia, or the latest Cardi B earworm, we’re here to unearth the sparks that truly move the culture forward.

For the first in our series, we invited the eponymous creative force himself to dive into his defining lightbulb moment and what continues to inspire him today. 

What has been the biggest lightbulb moment in your career? 

Picking up a camera for the first time. I looked through the lens and thought “Shit. I can show people what I want them to see, in the way I want them to see them. I can tell stories.”.
That moment came from people challenging me to challenge myself, to say, “what are you doing with your life?”. It was so significant to me because I didn’t really have the skills to be a writer or an artist, but I was still desperate to show people how I saw the world. I think a lot of people feel that need: to express their feelings, to share their story - it’s part of our human DNA. Being able to tell a story - whether it’s your own or someone else’s - is why I make photographs. I’ve never looked back and love it as much now as I did then. It was more than a lightbulb moment: it felt like I’d been given a superpower.

What has inspired you recently? I read this piece in The Guardian where a photographer distinguished between taking photographs and making photographs. I definitely ‘make’ them and I had no idea there were two camps. I’m still learning and loving it.I also realised I like making sculptures almost as much as I like making photographs. If you'd said to me 20 years ago that I’d be creating photographic sculptures, I'd have said “you're nuts”. But getting to create something three-dimensional - that you can touch and get close to - allows for a physicality that you can never really match in a two-dimensional photograph. It’s a visceral relationship with the artwork. These sculptures will last longer than any digital file, and I find that sense of real-life permanence so interesting. We’re at a time where everyone is always planning for this hyper-digital future - which is exciting - but it can feel like we’re forgoing the real world. And I find that really bizarre. 
What would be your advice for those seeking creative inspiration? You have to be inquisitive and want to keep learning. Somebody - an artist - said to me very early on in my career: “You know, it's okay to change your mind, because that means you've possibly learned something”. A lot of us are brought up with a mindset of rigidly deciding early on who you are and what you believe. And that’s seen as a positive. This person made me realise that’s actually a negative and it's better to be able to change your mind. By surrounding myself with people that question things all the time, I have more confidence to do that myself now.
Each month's The Lightbulb guest chooses who we will interview next - join us next time as we sit down to discuss obsessions and inspired thinking with one of Rankin’s own personal inspirations: writer, communicator, and strategist, Alastair Campbell.
To celebrate the life and legacy of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Rankin was invited by The Sunday Times to discuss his own experience of photographing her as well as some of his favourite portraits from other photographers over the decades. You can read more here.

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