Photographer Research

Task 1

For our first part of research we were asked to brainstorm some information about each photographer on the sheet and this was just a base for research just so we knew what we need to progress on ad what we already knew.



Task 2 

For this task we were asked to find 5 reliable sources of information about the photographer we chose to study for the project and the photographer I have chosen to study is Rankin, who is a well known fashion and portrait photographer.

Here are 5 sources of information about him.

Source 1

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 innovation 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, and bringing some of the brightest lights in fashion to the foreground.

Rankin has created landmark editorial and advertising campaigns. His body of work features some of the most celebrated publications, biggest brands and pioneering charities, including Nike, Swatch, Dove, Pantene, Diageo, Women’s Aid, and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. He has shot covers for Elle, German Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone and Wonderland. His work has always endeavoured to question social norms and ideas of beauty and, in late 2000, Rankin published the heteroclite quarterly Rank, an experimental anti-fashion magazine celebrating the unconventional.

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 groundbreaking design and style. More recently, the Dazed Group has established itself as an online authority, via, and Rankin celebrated Dazed & Confused’s 20th anniversary, shooting 20 front covers of Dazed favourites and 20 inside covers of the next generation of talent, for the December 2011 issue.

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, no matter who the subject. Always pursuing personal projects which push his limits, high impact charity projects, and groundbreaking commercial campaigns, Rankin has stood out for his creative fearlessness. His first major worldwide and award-winning campaign – Dove’s ‘Real Women’ – epitomised his approach: to reveal the honesty of the connection and collaborative process between photographer and subject. Personal or commercial, Rankin’s images have become part of contemporary iconography, evidence of his frankness and passion for all aspects of modern culture, and its representation in the photographed image.

Rankin has published over 30 books, is regularly exhibited in galleries around the world, as well as his own London gallery. His museum-scale exhibition ‘Show Off’ opened at NRW Dusseldorf in September 2012, pulling in over 30,000 visitors in 3 months.

In the last few years, he has frequently turned his hand to studies of photography through TV presenting. Working with the BBC, he has featured in a number of seminal documentaries – ‘The Seven Photographs that Changed Fashion’, ‘South Africa in Pictures’, ‘Shooting the Stars’, ‘The Life Magazine Photographers’ and most recently, an in-depth documentary into the modern approach to death in, ‘Alive: In the Face of Death’.
His affiliation with charities has seen Rankin travel the world, creating powerful campaigns both as a photographer and a director. With Oxfam, he visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya, and in 2011 hosted an Oxglam exhibition, featuring work from some of the world’s most talented emerging young photographers, and raising money for the charity. 2013 sees a planned trip to Jordan and Lebanon with Oxfam.

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, and also a keen advocate of the amazing digital advances of the photographic industry, Rankin Live was the culmination of the accessibility and speed of modern photography. 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 photographed over 1600 Londoners, before then taking Rankin Live on tour in Mexico and New York.

In 2011, Rankin Film Productions was born. Rankin developed a taste for film
directing music videos, commercials, and short films with co-director Chris Cottam between 2002 and 2009, including their debut feature film, The Lives of Saints. Written by Toni Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), it won the grand jury prize at the Salento International Film Festival. Since 2009, Rankin has continued to direct independently on both commercial and personal projects. Taking on the new role of Executive Producer, Rankin recently founded Collabor8te, in association with The Bureau and Dazed TV. Collabor8te calls on scriptwriters and directors to submit their ideas for narrative film, promising to turn a selection of these dreams into a reality, producing them, featuring them on Dazed TV, and running them on the international film festival circuit.

In November 2011, Rankin returned to magazine publishing with a fresh offering – The Hunger. A biannual fashion, culture and lifestyle magazine, The Hunger and its associated Hunger TV website – a video-based digital platform featuring in-depth interviews, fashion films, blogs, updates, and previews – marked Rankin’s return to the fashion world with an understanding that the future is not only printed but digital too.

Source 2

The moment Rankin glimpsed the Queen laughing with one of her staff, he knew that was the shot he wanted. “I watched her walk down this long corridor at Buckingham Palace with a guy who must have been at least 6ft. She’s tiny, and she was looking up at him, smiling and chatting, and I thought, ‘You’re exactly what I want you to be. You’re a real person’. ”

But the photographer, who shot Her Majesty back in 2002 as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, had only five minutes, and was desperate to make her laugh again. “So I started saying ‘Ma’am’, like ‘jam’. ‘Ma’am, you have to smile, please’ – I was like Austin Powers. And she just laughed at me. She was really funny, making a lot of jokes – very dry. Photography is all about collaboration – and she gave it to me.”

The end result is the Queen grinning in front of the Union flag. “She wrote back to me, having seen the shot, saying, ‘I love the stitching on the flag’. That’s the Queen’s way of not having an opinion. That’s classy. It’s like saying, ‘I like the photograph, I’m just not commenting on myself’.

“David Bailey took a photograph of her last year and he made her laugh as well,” he adds. “His is better than mine. I was quite young when I took mine. He’s a bit nearer her age. His is so brilliant. But then, I made her laugh first!”

In much the same way that Bailey documented the Sixties, Rankin catalogued the Nineties, befriending the celebrities he shot – Jude Law, Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue – dating models and generally having a very good time. This was partly aided by Dazed & Confused, the style magazine he launched in 1992, which was at the forefront of popular culture.

We meet at his studio-cum-home, a swanky building of plate glass and white walls in Kentish Town, north London, which he redeveloped a few years back. Now 48, his hair grey, this once-infamous party boy these days seems happier staying at home listening to Radio 4 or watching television with his wife, the model Tuuli Shipster.

We’re here to talk about his latest campaign, for the National Citizen Service (NCS), a government-backed scheme for 15- to 17-year-olds to help build life skills and broaden horizons. “I really like what it stands for, giving a more positive face to young people. As an older person, I do have my bloody-kids-today moments. But I’m surrounded by young people all the time and I see how positive they can be. There’s a billboard of kids not looking sullen, moody or hoody-wearing. They’re just human beings.

“My son, Lyle, is 18 and has not had a brilliant time with education – he left school at 16. I wish I had known about this scheme because I think it would have been really great for him. But he’s found his own way through that and is back at college now.”

What’s he studying? “Photography.”

Blimey. His dad will be a tough act to follow. Reading through his press cuttings from the past 20 years, Rankin has done a dizzying array of exhibitions, books – more than 30 – and campaigns (including the Dove “real women” advertisement). He has photographed everyone from George Michael and Madonna to Tony Blair, looking exhausted as prime minister in 2003, in a famous shot taken just after Britain had invaded Iraq. Unlike the Queen, Blair “didn’t give me anything,” says Rankin. “That, to me, is a passport photo. It was very serious and there wasn’t a fakeness. And, in a way, it was brilliant – I got something. Because it wasn’t the Tony Blair that everyone saw. But I didn’t inspire that in him.”

He was born with more than just the one name – John Rankin Waddell – in Paisley, where his father worked as a sales director of an oil company. The family moved south to Thirsk in Yorkshire, and then, when Rankin was 15, to St Albans. His parents were working-class-made-good and, says their son, not in the least bit interested in the arts. “I come from a place of zero creativity.”

His father encouraged him to study accountancy, which he dutifully did, at Brighton Polytechnic. He was put in halls of residence with art students, though, “and being with them made me realise this is what I want to do. I became obsessed with photography.”

He headed to the London College of Printing, where he befriended Jefferson Hack, who was studying journalism, and the pair dropped out to start Dazed & Confused.

Rankin believes the magazine was so successful “precisely because it was a product of that era. We were in the right place at the right time. With the new access to desktop publishing and our almost-naive approach to it all, we captured the zeitgeist in a unique way. I’m very proud of those days.”

Those early days of Dazed & Confused lived up to the title’s name, and Rankin has been candid in the past about his drug-taking. He stopped it all when he hit 40, though. “I’m quite anti all that now. I was never a big drug-taker – I just liked to go out and that was part of it. I was lucky I had a job I loved so much that I’d be like, ‘It’s 1am, I’ll see you later, I’ve got to go to bed.’ But I was a bit arrogant with it. And I was still trying to be a kid until I was 40, one of the gang. I had an assistant, and I said to him, ‘I really see you as my younger brother.’ And he was like, ‘I see you more like my dad…’ ”

But the main thing that prompted him to grow up was his parents dying within three weeks of each other – his father, suddenly, of a heart condition, two days after Christmas in 2005, followed by his mother, who had lung cancer. “I grew up instantly. When they go, a glass ceiling is removed, and it’s you next.”

How did he deal with the grief? “I didn’t deal with it,” he says frankly. “Then, in 2013, I did a documentary and a book about death, called Alive in the Face of Death,” photographing people who have dealt with, or are dealing with, the prospect of dying. “It was cathartic.”

His parents’ death also made him think about the kind of father he wanted to be to Lyle, a product of his first marriage to the actress Kate Hardie. “I thought he was going to think, ‘Oh, you’re just a fashion photographer, aren’t you? You just photograph celebrities – that’s what you do.’ And that’s when I started doing a lot more with charities.” He had been paid “extraordinary amounts of money” to do something he loved – up to £100,000 a day – but “I wanted to do something he’s more proud of, not just be the hedonistic dad who knows famous people”.

Talking of famous people, who’s the most photogenic he has ever shot? “It has to be Kate Moss. She just seems to know what the camera needs and has an incredible relationship with it. I think to be photogenic is to be comfortable in yourself. Kate is like everybody else in that she can be self-critical, but she also has a ‘f— it’ type attitude, which allows her to be herself.”

He tries not to prejudge anyone. “I try to think about people in human terms. That’s something my parents taught me – never put anyone on a pedestal, but never talk down to them either, which has been very instructive in my job. I see the person, not the celebrity. I’m a portrait photographer – I shouldn’t bring in my opinion. My job is to capture them in a moment.”

As ever, he has a million projects on the go – a new book of UK talent done in collaboration with the British Independent Film Awards, for instance; while the next issue of Hunger, his biannual style magazine, is out next month to coincide with London Fashion Week.

So how would Rankin like to be remembered? “I just don’t want to be mixed up with Ian – he’s an author!”

Source 3

Source 4

RANKIN has released his latest book, Rankin Portraits – a study of his most famous subjects, from Kate Moss to Emma Watson. The picture-based tome features many previously unseen images.

“This book is a bit different from previous ones that I have put out,” the photographer told us. “Normally, I self-publish all my books, but in this instance I was approached by Sea Design and the paper merchants, Robert Horne, who together proposed to publish it as a collaboration. There are so many amazing images taken on shoot days and, so often, they never see the light of day. This way I could collate my portraits into one publication that celebrates the iconic people I have been lucky enough to shoot. It feels quite intimate I think.”

Source 5


Task 3


  • Source 1

This is a good source of information for somebody who wants to know more about him and is very good for someone who doesn’t know who he is or what he does and its very in depth and detailed and will help someone to become more knowledgeable about him. This is a reliable source of information as it comes from the biography section on his main featured website. This means it was published and written either by Rankin himself or someone who works for him or is very close to him.

  • Source 2

This is a good source of information for someone who wants to know more about his photography technique and what he thinks when taking his pictures. Also it gives people information about his opinion on his work and how he styles and positions people when he works with models. This is a good reliable  source of information because as its a magazine article its constantly checked by different editors before its published so you know its good quality and also they interviewed him personally so they haven’t just made up his quotes or what he says, its actually come from him.

  • Source 3 

This is a good source of information if you want to know a direct opinion about him and what he thinks of his work and other things surrounding his genre of work and photography in general. This source is a video of him talking about photography in general and what his work is all about and gives a more in depth description of some things he has done and its a lot more in depth than a magazine article or a biography on a website, its almost like a mini documentary that involves him. This is a good source of information as it comes from him directly and it doesn’t go through different people before it reaches youtube and other people who want to view it.

  • Source 4

This is a source of information from a magazine website and it is an article about his book and what it involves and what its about. This would be good for someone who wants to know information about books he has written and also what the book involves and they may want to know this before they buy it or if they want to review the book as it will tell them someone else’s opinion on the book and its contents rather than giving their own opinion. This isn’t a very good quality piece of information because it doesn’t give a lot of information and it gives a small and less detailed description and opinion of his book, rather than what someone else would give him or put online.

  • Source 5

This is a good source of information about what other work Rankin does which is something he does away from photography. When you watch this you find out that he also creates different tv commercials and he may use pictures from shoots about a product which will inspire him to create a tv commercial or he may use stills from a commercial to inspire him to do a shoot about this product. If you wanted to know mainly about his photography work then this wouldn’t be a good source of information to use, but if you wanted to know what he also does other than photography then this would be a good source to use because its a really good example of what he does on the side rather than photography.


2 thoughts on “Photographer Research

  1. Another really mature and well considered piece great stuff – where you are presenting text/articles that you have found you should use “quotation marks” to show this. This will help distinguish it from your own comments and observations. As you are showing such confidence with this it would be great to astray using ‘Harvard referencing’ to record your sources – please ask me about this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As you have included the full source texts here Emily it would be a good idea just to put quotation marks around them to make the point that this is the source and not your ow writing.


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