Rankin interview: pandemic portraits, film vs digital, and David Bowie in a wolf mask

Seal, System album cover, 2007
(Image credit: Play by Rankin, Rizzoli New York, 2020)

Since the quirky pop star Björk posed for him in 1994, Rankin has spent over 25 years shooting the biggest names in music – from 1970s icons Debbie Harry and David Bowie to modern-day artists such as Rita Ora and Akala. Nearly 200 of his classic music portraits feature in his new book Play, which combines his bold portraiture with his behind-the-scenes stories of working with music legends. 

Last year was a busy one for Rankin, with a number of major projects alongside his usual workload. One of the most significant of these was his series of 12 portraits of key NHS workers, to mark the National Health Service's 72nd anniversary, made even more poignant by the COVID pandemic. He discussed this very project in his headline hour-long talk on the Super Stage at The Photography Show: Spring Shoots, which you can watch on demand right here

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