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Year 9 student Agnese recently had the amazing opportunity to interview renowned portrait photographer Rankin at his studio in London. Inspired by Rankin’s innovative style and revolutionary influence on the iconic fashion design industry, Agnese used her initiative to reach out to his team enquiring about an interview. After receiving an invitation to Rankin’s studio, Agnese had the fantastic opportunity to interview the experienced photographer in person. Agnese also participated in a photoshoot with Rankin and her photos will be part of his ‘Rankin Live’ exhibition. Read Agnese’s 5 minutes with Rankin below:

Agnese: How did you become a fashion photographer?
Rankin: To be honest with you, I’m not a fashion photographer – I’m more of a portrait photographer that does fashion. I was inspired by a guy I was at college with. He had a camera, and I was at accountancy college but had loads of friends who were art students in college. They were having such a good time, and I was having a rubbish time. I thought, ‘what can I do?’ and thought ‘that guy has a camera, maybe I could give that a go.’

Agnese: Why do you love being a photographer?
Rankin: I love being a photographer, mainly because I love people. I love the idea of being able to meet people, capture something about them, and then I love being able to take a photograph that people see and connect with and get something out of.

Agnese: Why is photography such an interesting art form?
Rankin: I think the main thing that photography does that other art forms don’t do, possibly apart from film, is it represents reality. So, because it’s based on and has to be (apart from AI) and because you have to actually be in reality to take it, to make it, to take pictures, you need to rely on something that’s real in front of you. I think it’s very relatable in a way that other art forms aren’t necessarily as relatable. But, at the same time, I think that’s kind of a bit of a double-edge sword because it also means it could be used for really bad things because it’s very easy to manipulate.

Agnese: What would you say the hardest thing about your job is?
Rankin: I think the thing I don’t like about my job, as opposed to the hardest, is all of the kind of process that goes on around photography. So, all the business bits of it that kind of make it boring. But apart from that, I love it. So, everything I love about it outweighs a problem, so all the loves are up here (*indicates high) and all the dislikes are about that heavy (*indicates lower) and the loves are really, really great. 

Agnese: What’s your favourite image or photo you’ve taken and why?
Rankin: Impossible to say! Because I’ve taken probably a million or so pictures and out of those, there’s probably tens of thousands that are good – that I think are good. So, when you like your pictures, it’s very difficult to say, ‘oh that one’s better than that one.’ The other thing about photography is, because it’s very relatable to human beings, your photos go out into the world and people have  a relationship with them – that hasn’t really got anything to do with you. So, they see a photo and maybe they like that celebrity or that musician and then their relationship is between them and that photo, not you and that photo. It’s almost like having amazing, little kind of beings that go out into the world and have a life of their own. So, it’s very difficult to say ‘oh I like that one better than that one’ which would mean I like one more than another, and I don’t, I like the whole thing.

Agnese: What advice would you give someone wanting to become a photographer?
Rankin: Take lots of pictures, that would be the main one. I think if you want to be a professional photographer, you need to learn photography from the ground up. And what I mean by that is, yes you can use digital, you can use your phone, it’s really important to take lots and lots of pictures. But I think if you learn how to work on film, you learn how to think about taking pictures; you learn lots more about the process; the technical process behind photography.

Agnese: What would you consider your techniques when you take photos?
Rankin: I think my main technique is to enjoy it. That’s the main thing – if I don’t enjoy it, then I think I find the picture-taking harder. So, for me it’s having the fun. But also making other people feel comfortable (or at least trying to) especially with the subject, collaborating with the team, trying to maybe take a picture that is not like a picture and that make the person in the picture feel good about themselves.

Agnese: That’s all my questions – thank you for taking the time to answer them
Rankin: Absolute pleasure!

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