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, bringing some of the brightest lights in fashion to the foreground. Today, Dazed Media is a leading online fashion and cultural brand.
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, and Oxfam. He has shot covers for, amongst others, Elle, Vogue, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone and Wonderland. His work has always questioned social norms and ideas of beauty.
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.
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 the subject. Always pursuing projects that push his limits, Rankin has stood out for his creative fearlessness. Personal or commercial, his images have become part of contemporary iconography, evidence of his frankness and passion for all aspects of modern culture.
Rankin has published over 30 books and is regularly exhibited in galleries around the world, as well as his own London gallery. His curated exhibition “It’s Glam Up North” opened at the Museum of Liverpool in September 2015, pulling in over 100,000 visitors in 3 months. The exhibition culminated in a charity auction with proceeds going to Claire House Children’s Hospice. In recent years, he has 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’, ‘Shooting the Stars’, ‘The Life Magazine Photographers’ and an in-depth documentary into the modern approach to death, ‘Alive: In the Face of Death’. His affiliation with charities has seen Rankin travel the world, as both photographer and director. Most recently he has visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya with Oxfam, also returning to Kenya in 2015 with RED.
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 photographed over 1600 Londoners, before taking Rankin Live on tour around the world.
In 2011, Rankin Film Productions was born. Rankin directed 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 role of Executive Producer, he founded Collabor8te, in association with The Bureau and Dazed TV. Collabor8te calls on scriptwriters and directors to submit ideas for narrative film, producing them and featuring them on Dazed TV, as well as the international film festival circuit.
In November 2011, Rankin returned to magazine publishing with Hunger. 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 – marked Rankin’s return to the fashion world with an understanding that the future is not only printed but digital too.
Rankin lives in London with his wife, Tuuli, and son, Lyle.