Star photographer and director RANKIN co-hosts a Euromaxx Special


Today Meggin is posing for star photographer Rankin. He has invited her to join him in his studio
in north London´s Kentish Town district. Hi everyone. Welcome to this special edition of euromaxx. I’m your host Meggin Leigh and co-hosting
with me today is our very special guest. World famous photographer Rankin. Thank you so much for having us in your studios
here in London. It’s a pleasure. Well you name it from the Rolling Stones,
David Bowie and Madonna, the Queen, even Miss Piggy – you pretty much filmed and photographed
them all. So I guess it’s fair to ask you for my first
question what is a day in the life of Rankin like? Oh it’s quite long because I get up very early
so I probably wake up about five maybe five thirty. I get up ,I check my emails very quickly. I then take my dogs for a walk for about an
hour and a half. I come back so I am back by about six to seven. I do e-mails till about 9:00 30 and then I
come on set generally or if I’ve not got a shoot which is very rare I’ll do meetings
and then I’ll probably finish about ….well I always have a lunch at 1:00 and always have
a meeting. Never have a lunch on my own and then I’ll
probably finish about seven and then I have meetings until about eight thirty. Okay so sounds pretty ordinary even though
you’re surrounded by celebrities when you do actually do a shoot
Yeah. No I’m pretty much a workaholic so everybody
thinks I’m a photographer and a director but I’m actually much more than that. I have a publishing company, I have an advertising
agency, I rep directors, I rep photographers , I have my own studio. I have another studio which we just bought. Yes I’m kind of buy. Right, well Rankin helped us put the show
today together we’re going to be talking a little bit more in-depth about your publishing
company, we will come out later right. But you know your subjects vary very differently
from superstar athletes like LeBron James a basketball star to actresses to singers. Walk me through through the creative process
of how you start a shoot. It is always different. You know sometimes it would be me that’s come
up with the idea, sometimes it’s an agency or sometimes a client. Sometimes it’s a celebrity that comes up with
it but you basically start with a brief which is like a treatment. You have preproduction that gets all the stuff
that you need for the shoot together, you get on set with the celebrity or the model,
the subject, go into hair and makeup. If it’s a kind of concept behind it. There might be a makeup concept then we’ll
spend ages doing the concept.. I call it glam presume which means I’m waiting
for glam and then we get on set and we shoot digitally which means that everything is seen
by everybody and it’s a very open forum so everybody can comment on it. Sometimes that doesn’t work for you because
maybe the celebrity is not in a really good place that day so you have to persuade them
and it can be very difficult. But most the time it is pretty good because
it’s very collaborative. Okay we want to take a look at the work and
life so far of Rankin. Rankin’s portraits are world famous. He manages to do what most photographers can
only dream of: capture unforgettable moments with stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger or David Bowie, and
politicians like Mikhail Gorbachev or Tony Blair. Many of his works have become iconic….like
this official portrait of Queen Elizabeth to mark her Golden Jubilee. The British photographer is in demand worldwide. He shoots photos and creates ad campaigns
for international labels. Rankin has even made a name for himself as
a film director. Born as John Rankin Waddell in Scotland, in
1966, he demonstrated a good sense of humour early on in his self-portraits. When he was in his early 20s, Rankin decided
to make photography his career and moved to London. That is where he got his big break back in
the early 1990s. Together with his college friend Jefferson
Hack he founded youth culture magazine “Dazed & Confused”. Stars like U2 frontman Bono, model Kate Moss,
actress Kirsten Dunst and pop star Justin Timberlake graced the covers. Rankin now publishes four fashion- and lifestyle
magazines and has issued more than 40 books of photographs. He has his own studio, publishing house and
ad agency. His latest print project is: “Hunger” magazine, which has appears twice
a year. And with his ambitious project Rankin Live!,
the photographer shows that he can make ANYONE look like a cover model. Since 2009 he’s shot pictures of thousands
of ordinary people like here in Berlin. It’s an ongoing adventure which takes him
around the globe. Sometimes even famous faces aren’t immediately
recognizable in Rankin’s photos…. like Icelandic singer Björk or top model Heidi Klum. Whether it’s his celebrity portraits or art
photography, Rankin has created many iconic images — including some that will go down
in history. So you have done so much in your career what
would you say was perhaps the breakthrough. Not one thing but a couple of things. Probably photographing Bjork was a big thing
but setting up Daze magazine and then photographing the Queen. Well tell us about that. I had done a lot of research into the Queen
and found that she had a sense of humor. So I was really focused on getting a photograph
of her with that sense of humor. While I shooting her part of my camera fell
off and she started laughing. So once I’d seen that I was like that’s what
I’m going to get. And I just started going. Mam, can you smile please, Mam can you smile
until she smiled. And then I got it. Now you’ve also worked with ordinary people. What are the challenges there? The challenges of working with real people
are pretty much the same as working with celebrities. You just have to make people feel comfortable. And I think it is always more difficult to
photograph famous people because they go to their face their way of being shot and to
get them out of that is is more complicated, whereas with real people it’s more about just
making them feel good. You know, make them feel comfortable ,yeah. So what is your preferred medium for working? Film, photography, print? I think that probably photography’s where
I’m happiest because it’s what I first came to. You know I picked up a camera when was 21
and it was a big big deal for me because it was like a light bulb moment so photography
is definitely my first love. But I think film is so difficult to do and
get right. So it’s my challenge in my life and I don’t
think I’ve nailed it particularly yet with drama but I’m doing quite well with commercials
and music videos. And in 2011 you started yet another magazine
hunger. Yes. Why is it called Hunger. I started hunger because I left Dazed as a
creative director and I missed the kind of the team aspect of it because you get so much
information and ideas from working in a team. And I was still hungry. So hunger seemed like a good name. Now the subject in our next report is media
artist EM Cole. Tell me a little bit about how you discovered
her. I met her through my agent Sophie who works
for me wrapping photographers and I said I want to meet some new photographers and she
said oh check this girl Em Cole call out she’s really interesting and I saw her work and
I was like Oh there’s some things I’m familiar with. So I asked if I could meet her and she came
in and the first question I asked her was: what’s what’s your interest and your obsession
with technology. Because most people your age are more about
analog and they’re kind of looking backwards and she said well I looked around the industry
and it was full of middle aged white men. No offense! And then I was hooked and said you’re amazing. And then she told me her story and it was
so intense and her way of dealing with what’s happened to her was through her work. So I was very taken by. Well staying on the subject of Em Cole and
her work we want to take a closer look now in our next report. Works by British multimedia artist Em Cole
are colorful, provocative and often unconventional. Photos and videos are her preferred mode of
creative expression. “My whole aesthetic is built around treading
that line between something that’s grotesque and something that’s enticing. I feel like photography in film is a flat
medium so I want to bring out the sensory feeling from it. So if I can get people to feel something through
the textures or the colours in my imagery that’s just fantastic.” Em Cole studied Information Experience Design
at London’s Royal College of Art. There, she discovered her passion for photography
and video art. “So I ended up just kind of playing around
in the photography studio a lot. I found the immediacy of photography so much
more rewarding than kind of spending 24 hours on a sewing machine trying to make a T-Shirt. You know I could just throw stuff in the shot
and throw people in the shot and get the picture.” She nows works predominantly as a photographer
and director. Much of her work is inspired by surrealism
and artists like Salvador Dali and René Magritte. For instance her short film “I’m Your Venus”. “It’s poking fun at the female ideal and drawing
connections from the past art of classical Renaissance nudes which are perceived as the
most ideal beauty and connecting it to digital culture today with Instagram and filters and
everyone’s trying to beautify themselves and get this you know perfect image to go out
in the world. So I kind of recreated a new female ideal. Kind of an avatar a digital avatar based on
both of those things.” Much of Em Cole’s work revolves around the
sterotypical presentation of women. As a teen, she, too, fell victim to digital
abuse when pictures of her were distributed on pornographic websites. After unplugging for a few years, she’s back
online with fresh confidence. “If you’ve been bullied out of a space you
shouldn’t be ashamed to be in that space you just deserve to be there just as much as anybody
else. […] I mean I get nude in some of my work,
sometimes I’m pushing it. Like stuff it. I’ve got control of that. You know I’m not going to let somebody else
take control of my online image if it’s going to be there, it’s going to be mine.” Humor and irony are two important stylistic
devices Em Cole likes to employ. Regardless of whether the topic is serious
or not. Like in her video “Sloppy Seconds”: “If you’re talking about anything serious
or especially problematic social problems then humour is a universal tool to you so
that people can relax and once people are relaxed they’re so much more likely to get
an understanding of your work Em Cole certainly can’t complain about not
getting enough commissions. And the British media artist is confident
that her caeer will continue to blossom. There is a lot
to see in Rankins Studio. I especially liked his Rankomat Photo Booth. So Cole is not only a media artist you have
featured her on online and in the latest edition or upcoming edition of your magazine. Tell me a little bit more about this collaboration. Well I met her through my agent as I said
and she is somebody that I think people should be aware of. So I was very very keen to get her featured
online. I got her featured in Dazed as well. I think that when you meet someone you really
think is brilliant at what they do you really really want to get them as much PR and publicity
as you can. We’re standing right here in the middle of
London. You’re from Scotland. Why Camden Town? Why Camden Lock? Oh I moved here because …it isn’t Camden
it is Kentish Town…When I moved here it was pretty much the only place in North London
that I could afford to move. So we got a really beautiful studio around
the corner and I moved here in 96 just over there and I have lived here and in North London
since about 96. Well you know moving from Scotland to London,I
mean I’m just guessing, but it must have felt like you were a small fish in a big pond. Yeah I didn’t know anybody in the industry
when I moved to London. I was very much from a kind of non commercial
photography, a non art non advertising background, so it was a very strange experience and that’s
why it was great to meet Jefferson at college because we were both in the same boat .. From Dazed and Confused? Yeah we both both ended up kind of trying
to kind of make a mark here without any support from anybody really. And why here why not Hollywood for example. I mean you work with so many of these famous
faces. I think back then we had no clue that we’d
ever be working with Hollywood. We were very much focused on you know we were
both at college when we met and we started the magazine Dazed at college and it was really
just a way of us kind of documenting and creating culture that was around us. So Hollywood wasn’t even on our radar. I want to pull it a little bit back to social
media again. I mean you started out in classic publishing. Now we live in the digital age you’re also
really active on social media. As a classic photographer, but also someone
who uses social media to promote your work, what is your responsibility when it comes
to teenagers and image in these images of beauty online. Well I think everybody that picks up a camera
professionally has a responsibility to the subject matter, to who you’re photographing,
to why you’re photographing them. But I think nowadays, well I’ve kind of learned
that through process, knowing that when you sort of push the boundaries you have to really
know why you’re doing it and what your intention is . But the problem is, is that now people
have got no idea of that responsibility and are using it kind of willy nilly. So I think I actually now have more of a responsibility
to put a light on that or put some sort of focus on that. Well said. All right. For our next report which Ranken also helped
choose today. We’re going to take a look at teenagers, social
media and social media obsession. Are teenagers winning or losing in this digital
age? These days, you can do much more with a phone
than just make telephone calls and send text messages. News apps help you keep up with what’s going
on in the world, 24/7. Or play games to your heart’s content. And if you need a train ticket, you can buy
it with your smartphone. Thanks to streaming, you can always access
your favorite music. Social media platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook
and Instagram (00:30) allow you to communicate with your friends non-stop. The possibilities are endless. But what do young people most use their phones
for? “To find out when the next bus is coming,
for music, audio books, everything.” “I think mostly to interact with other people
and also to take some good photos.” “I used it mainly for city map, you know,
to discover the city on my own, I listen to music a lot, and obviously social media.” “I use it it to surf in internet, to make
pictures, and to speak with people.” One app is particularly popular at the moment. Instagram, Instagram, Instagram, Instagram,
Instagram, J’aime tout sur Instagram ((Ich mag alles an Instagram))+++ Users can upload pictures and videos using
varous filters, share them with others and like entries. Instagram already has over a billion users,
double the figure 2 years ago. People share their favorite experiences. Vacation snaps are particularly popular, as
are pictures of animals (01:37) and of tasty-looking food. It’s a perfect platform for showing off! And users love it. Especially as it offers them the possibility
to present their life in a different way. “Definitely it’s not the real world, I edit
stuff, everyone edit things”+++ “Instagram is kind of our fake life, because
this is not what is really happening in our life.” “There are reports everywhere that things
are always being edited out.” “There is definitely a lot of them on Instagram. I think a lot of people edit their photos.” You can even change the way you look with
some apps – and undergo a digital beauty operation. But this is not unproblematic. Studies have shown that digitally enhanced
versions of the ideal body are having an impact on people’s perception of themselves. You can even change the shape of your eyes
in one click. “It’s weird. It really makes a difference.” Digital tools make it easy to have plumped
up lips. “Oh, that’s really weird. Makes me feel uncomfortable doing that, changing
my face like that. If you got used to doing that all the time
than you wouldn’t like yourself without it. Or you can have a narrower nose if you feel
like it. “It’s as if we were surrounded by perfect
people, but that’s nonsense. It’s not the case at all. Nobody’s perfect.” Andreas Niggestich teaches schoolchildren
and their parents how to deal with social media. Some children already have smartphones at
the age of 8. Why are they such must-have accessories? “It’s mostly about social recognition. It’s a need that we all have and the social
networks tap into this need very simply, literally at a click. I can upload a picture after buying a new
pair of sunglasses, share it with my friends and get instant feedback.” Niggestich wants to ensure that young people
use their phones and computers responsibly. In other words, continue to use them but not
excessively. “The question is always whether you can do
something without a smartphone, are you still able to – it’s important to teach children
that they can survive without their phones, that they can get through a day without them.” Phones and social networks can be as addictive. So sometimes the only answer is to switch
them off! Now you wanted to talk about teenagers and
social media addiction. Why is this topic important to you? Well photography as a medium has become very
democratic. Llots people are using it because of smartphones. And I found myself on different social media
platforms kind of wanting to go back to them and check them a lot. And I suddenly realized probably about three
years ago that I was addicted. I was addicted to what people were thinking
of my work, how people were relating to it, was it being liked. And I thought well if this is me being addicted
to it then if you’re a 10 or 12 year old kid how’s that affecting you. How’s that influencing you. And I started to talk to people about it and
I just got this overwhelming response from people that they were having the same feelings. So I started to do some research on it and
it was really obvious there was a lot of statistics coming out on it that actually people were
addicted and that a lot of the platforms were designed to be addictive. And I just felt that we have a responsibility
because it’s photography that they’re using they’re using them as a way of talking to
each other. Photos are not about capturing a moment. They’re a way of conveying a moment. And because that’s something that I do I just
felt responsible and I felt that we should do something about it. Okay well because you said you felt responsible
what have you done? I mean have you taken any action or anything? Yeah well funnily enough I am actually taking
quite an interesting action. Iam trying to set up a symposium in November
with my publishing company to actually discuss all these things and I’ve been writing what
we call white papers which are like essays on it and trying to get a group of people
together to write an essay, a series of essays on it. All right so you say that you did become addicted
to social justice and seeing what people were saying about you. Do you still use social media? I do but I’m also looking into other kind
of more ethical ways of using social media because the problem with it is that it’s not
necessarily the people that are running the companies that have got a problem it’s the
algorithms that they’ve created that are just constantly feeding our desires and that is
something that that we need to investigate and discuss. And I’ve been trying really hard to look for
alternatives. But yes I still use it. It’s impossible for me not to use it because
it’s part of my business. It’s part of life and.also I don’t think you
can change anything from the outside I think you need to be changing it from the inside
and creating content that’s a little bit different or trying to challenge people or even having
fun with it because I’m obviously somebody that likes to take the mickey out of things. On a lighter note now selfies are meant to
be fun. I think they’re very very dangerous. You do? Why do you think they are dangerous? I think they create a modulistt look that
people are perpetuating through this same type of imagery. And I really think the problem is that if
this is what you putting out as you’re happy life, you’re online life so to speak then
what’s your actual life like? Also people are looking at these images of
people and they’re thinking it’s real or they’re thinking even if it’s fabricated they have
a better life than them and I think that sets people up against each other. And back in the day when photo shop came along
all of the media especially the magazines got really criticized for using photoshop
on celebrities or role models. Now you can go and buy something called face
tune and you see people using that on social media. And that inherently is one of the worst things
you can be doing because not only are you creating a fantasy version of yourself, that’s
also going to mess with other people’s heads as well. So you’re messing with heads in both ways. Well I’m glad to hear that you’re trying to
do something positive in that direction. But unfortunately we are out of time for today. Yes. Rankin thank you so much for having us in
our studios and for co-hosting our show I hope we made you feel comfortable as co host
and co- editor in chief today. Thank you. You did. Thank you. All right. And with that we are out of time on this special
edition of Euromaxx with our special guest today,photographer Rankin. From me and the rest of the crew here from
London. As always thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you again soon. Goodbye!

4 Replies to “Star photographer and director RANKIN co-hosts a Euromaxx Special”

  1. If you want to know RANKIN's stunning style, check 3:40; to discover the art of Em Cole, go to 09:28; to take a look at teenagers and their possible social media obsession, 16:20

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