As excitement builds for the opening of Photo London on Thursday 9 September, Rankin has confirmed a series of special events to coincide with the international fine-art photography fair.
As well as having his work exhibited in the 29 Arts in Progress (Milan) gallery space, the photographer and filmmaker will be staging an ‘open studio’ event, where two new works will be exhibited, plus an open afternoon tea and a book signing session for ‘Embrace’, one of the two new works.
And holders of VIP tickets will be able to join the man himself for a ‘Rankin in Conversation’ event in The Penthouse Salon, a luxury accommodation space above his studio.
Rankin’s Open Studio Weekend has been conceived to celebrate the importance of creativity as a tool for wellbeing, to explore the intersection between art, creativity and mental health.
Starting with the physical Photo London event at Somerset House, Rankin’s solo show at 29 Arts in Progress will display some of the photographer’s hand-picked favourite images – including some of his best-known subjects and more conceptual works.
This exhibition is an archival look at his often ‘outsider’ take on fashion photography and portraiture; although one of the world’s most influential fashion photographers, Rankin has often defined his place within the industry as that of being someone on the outside looking in.
Alongside some of his most iconic and unconventional portraits, the collection includes images of supermodels taken in the 1990s for ‘Dazed & Confused‘ magazine, and bold fashion and beauty images from his other title ‘Hunger‘.
But there will be more for Rankin aficionados to enjoy at Photo London, albeit away from the hustle and bustle of London’s West End.
The photographer will be opening his Annroy Studio in Kentish Town to the public from Friday 10-Sunday 12 September, between 12pm and 5pm (110-114 Grafton Road, London NW5 4BA).
Two of Rankin’s latest series of works will be available to view here: ‘Embrace’ and ‘An Exploding World’.
Seen through close-up and intimate photographs of flowers, these series of images reflect the state of the nation and Rankin’s own take on isolation and lockdown.
“Self isolation gave me an opportunity to really focus on this work as I’d imagined it,” explains Rankin.
“What’s interesting about these images is how much they reflect my personal state of mind, whilst also representing my approach to the world.
“In taking each picture I realised right from the beginning that I was treating them like a portrait. Whether it was a single flower or groups of flowers, I couldn’t help but give them characters… search for their personalities and try to bring them to life.”
An Exploding World, a companion series to Embrace, explores the aesthetic of destruction, creating images reminiscent of nuclear explosions, each frame becoming a take on an expression of Rankin’s frustration during isolation, and the expressive creativity that emerged.
“For years now I’ve been obsessed with the perfection of a dandelion seed head,” adds Rankin.
“Seen as weeds, they grow absolutely everywhere, especially in the city. And during a time of great stress there was comfort in them – especially as growing up, the idea of blowing them was associated with making a wish.”
Initially displayed on Rankin’s social media accounts, Embrace has now been published in book form, after a collaboration with Bryan Edmondson, founder of SEA Design.
The pair created this volume as an empathetic portrayal of what a lot of people were feeling during lockdown. And together with these new images of flowers, Embrace also delves into Rankin’s working practice, with images of the photographer in his personal studio creating the project.
Take afternoon tea at Rankin’s photo studio
As well as being able to see the new works, visitors to Annroy Studio can enjoy an open afternoon tea, on Friday 10 September, between 1-4pm.
And a book signing of ‘Embrace’ with Rankin will take place at Annroy Studio the following day, Saturday 11 September, between 2pm-4pm.
All events are open to the public, but spaces may be limited.
Photo London VIPs will be able to attend a ‘Rankin In Conversation’ event later that day, between 5-6.30pm.
This will take place in The Penthouse Salon, a luxury accommodation space cum gallery and shoot location, above Annroy Studio.
The talk will discuss creativity during lockdown, Rankin’s new floral works Embrace and An Exploding World, and reconnecting with personal expression.
With time built in for audience questions, it should be a fascinating insight into the impact of isolated working on one of the UK’s busiest and most celebrated photographers.
But those without Photo London VIP credentials won’t have to miss out, as the talk will be live-streamed via Photo London’s digital talks programme.