Photographer Rankin says he searches for the ‘human person beyond the position’

The King photographed by Rankin for the Big Issue (Rankin/Rankin Creative/PA)
The King photographed by Rankin for the Big Issue (Rankin/Rankin Creative/PA) The King photographed by Rankin for the Big Issue (Rankin/Rankin Creative/PA)

Rankin has said he tries to look for the “person beyond the position” when he is photographing high-profile individuals.

The celebrity photographer recently captured the King for the front page of the Big Issue to mark his 75th birthday and previously photographed the late Queen and the Prince of Wales.

He has launched a new edition of his RankinLive project over the festive period in Carnaby Street in central London which will allow the public the chance to sit in front of his lens.

Coronation Food Project
Coronation Food Project The King photographed by Rankin for the Big Issue (Rankin/Rankin Creative/PA)

Reflecting on how he approaches photographing royalty or celebrities, he told the PA news agency: “Photographing anyone that’s in a position of power, in any kind of position that is almost forced upon them through birth, is a bit strange because what it represents comes first and who they are, I think people are fascinated by it, but it almost comes second.

“So what I always try and do with everybody I photograph is look for the human, whether it’s a prime minister or a celebrity, is look for the human person beyond the position.”

Rankin said photographing the late Queen for her Golden Jubilee in 2002 was an “incredible” experience, adding: “I personally loved her. Especially when I met her, I thought she was amazing.”

Earlier this year, the Big Issue approached him for their special edition with the King, in which he wrote about the importance of finding practical ways to bridge the gap between food waste and food need.

Rankin said: “I think it’s a brilliant initiative. So I got to photograph him and it went everywhere. I was quite surprised how many people picked it up.”

He has now launched a new edition of his RankinLive project, which first launched in 2009 and allows the general public the chance to see behind the scenes of a professional photoshoot.

Rankin said he feels this environment creates a “democratisation” as he does not “put people of pedestals” or “look down on them”.

The photographer also noted that he likes to ensure his photography shoots are a “collaboration” with the subject.

Rankin photographingAnna Friel being photographed by Rankin (Rankin/PA)

“When I photographed King Charles he chose the eventual picture that was used and the people I’m photographing here, it’s the same process.

“I don’t steal something from people. Whether it’s of the King or whether it’s a famous musician or pop star, or an actor, I love it.

“I generally love people that love life. So one of the things I tend to find about doing RankinLive is the people that want to experience it are the people that want to experience something in life and they seem to enjoy it.”

To launch the project on Wednesday, he photographed actress Anna Friel at the studio in central London.

“I like photographing people that I enjoy so photographing Anna Friel is exciting to me because I love Anna Friel. She’s an amazing person, she’s an incredible person,” he added.

He has also photographed stars including Miley Cyrus, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Colman, Sir Tom Jones and Britney Spears.

Rankin has just launched a live photo studio and retail experience at 47 Carnaby Street, in London’s West End which will run for Christmas through to January 4, bookings can be made from his website.