Unfashionable but never out-dated or passé. Call him ‘on trend’ and you’ll only offend. ‘Rankin: Unfashionable – 30 Years of Fashion Photography’ shows us why being ‘on fleek’ is for the meek.
The retrospective of Rankin’s fashion imagery is edited by the trail-blazing photographer himself, and drawing upon a catalogue of 30-years of work, is a personal trove of his most provocative imagery.
But why should we strive to be unfashionable? Well to quote Alexander McQueen; “There comes a time in your life when you focus solely on what you believe is right, regardless of what everybody else is doing.”
There is an irreverent spirit that charges Rankin’s work. Never derivative and never concerned with what’s popular, Unfashionable demonstrates how the photographer, director, and founder of Dazed & Confused was able to stay ahead of the curve.
In my opinion, great photography doesn’t just capture a single moment but the essence of its subject. It achieves what painting was once able to do; it grabs they eye with compelling visuals, yet keeps it with a loaded narrative.
The retrospective gives us a candid look at Rankin’s most iconic portraiture, his ground-breaking fashion editorials and how through his ‘unfashion,’ he dictated fashion. We are given a candid insight to his innovative compositions and allusions.
Above, in Hunger, Erin O’Connor is compelling as sartorial siren, seducing the sailors of the River Rhine.
Below, Rankin breaks moulds by taking the figure of an odalisque from the annals of art history, and replaces her with an aged, un-retouched model.
Into the Mist shows us a Snow Queen with a sharp Vidal Sassoon bob, who dares to challenge the viewer’s gaze with an icicle stare.
Ultimately, Unfashionable is testament to the fact that true creatives don’t follow trends, but create them. I prescribe the retrospective to not only lovers of fashion photography, but to those who understand that the margins are where new ideas thrive.
Unfashionable: 30 Years of Fashion Photography by Rankin is published by Rizzoli priced at £50.00 and available from all good book stores.
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