Ranked

£4.00

What kind of a name is Rankin¿ Type it on your sense. If you are one of the people who believe that he is “notoriously arrogant”. Rankin. This traditional Scottish name sounded West Indian to some: Rankin’s early gigs regularly had him insists on adding a ‘g’. Ranking¿ That makes INTR turning up to a room of astonished faces. No one expected a spiky-haired white boy to turn up with a camera. To some, he’s “a bloody nightmare”. It all adds to the myth. A photographer who likes to create myths by toying with those already constructed – the myths of celebrity, myths of beauty, myths of nation. Take the portrait of the Queen, pictured in front of a heavily stitched Union Jack; a pertinent backdrop for the person who stitches it all together. Playing with expectations, clichés, and symbols, the point of consistency running through all his work is a sense of humour. Like the perverse science of the Breeding series, a double-take at models who look like neither sex, and both. Or the fashion shoot, Livestock, where models really are meat. There’s the myth that he only shoots celebrity photography, or that he only specialises in fashion photography, or that he has only one style, or no style at all. The most seductive myth of all is the figure behind the camera. The myth that Rankin kicks around dressed as superman; the photographer with secret powers, who everyone believes delivers some “frozen magic” through his images. Or the photographer with such a high opinion of himself that the only thing he can think to do by way of a self-portrait is to snog himself. “You can’t take it all too seriously – having fun, meeting cool people, taking some seductive photographs... photographs that seduce me as much as other people. I just can’t take it too seriously.” As poet Paul Valéry once said, people with ideas are never serious. If there is a theory of photography behind Rankin’s work, a philosophy of how to shoot people without getting caught up in the hype and drama, it doesn’t come from poets, or photographers. It comes from Rankin’s dad: “Everyone has to wipe their own arse.” Enjoy the show
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