Wednesday, 23 September 2009
“Arrogant” yes, however the Rankin retrospective reveals the image maker to be much more besides.
The gritty photographs in the Archive section offer a stark contrast to the celebrity portraiture and beauty work that is to come. Honest and revealing the subjects are diverse yet the pictures share a common factor, they are alive: alive in the sense that they capture real life or at least real people.
The Dress series reveals Rankin to be a man who is aware of the sometimes fickle face of fashion. By making the models the focus rather than the garment they are wearing Rankin draws our attention to the faces and bodies of his subjects - people, we as an audience, may have overlooked in another instance. He forces us to stop and pay attention: the girl on the left is not the same woman as that on the right, and so it continues.
I arrived as a fan of fashion photography and left a fan of Rankin, a photographer with so much more to offer. In fact I would go as far as saying that his fashion work is my least favourite. His talent for capturing the real identity of his subjects seems somewhat wasted in this field.