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Rankin: I love the idea of my studio being a factory

pic: Rankin

Photographer extraordinaire, founder of the Dazed and Confused Magazine and an all-over important figure. Rankin has talked to us about DiY culture, celebrities, the Internet and his future.
How do you now remember the days of Dazed and Confused Magazine? How was the energy and atmosphere of the first months?
It was exciting because I was at the heart of a scene with people who were all very similar in their approach to life. It was a very ‘DIY’ approach. It was a really creative time. We all came from similar backgrounds. We were very hungry, very excited by the potential of success, doing something that people were interested in and that mattered.
At the same time, we were all quite young, we were having a brilliant time partying so I can’t remember a lot of it! Work was good because it kept me on the straight and narrow. I was more addicted to work than I was to partying. 
Are you still part of it? And how do you feel about the website, Dazed Digital?
I own Dazed & Confused, along with Jefferson Hack. I have less involvement with it than I did in the early years, but I am still involved. I shoot for it every couple of months.
I really like Dazed Digital, it stays true to the look and feel of Dazed.
You got in touch with a lot of influential people (celebs or not) while pretty young. What did this teach you and how does one get close to people that matter? 
When you read these glossy magazines, they put celebrities on a pedestal, almost like they’re Gods. 
Being in contact with influential people on a regular basis, you realise that they’re just human. Like normal people, some are nice some are not. 
Why did you decide to go by the name of Rankin as opposed to your full name?
I've always been called Rankin by family and friends, so it was just a natural name to use when starting out. It's also catchier than John Waddell!
How important is your reputation for you?
My reputation is extremely important to me. 
If you have a bad reputation in this business, you don’t get anywhere. 
We would like to ask about the photo and story at the blog – Missing Tuuli. Any words to accompany that pic?
I think the title pretty much speaks for itself – I was missing Tuuli.
I’m really fortunate that I get to travel the world a lot with my job but one of the downsides is definitely being separated from Tuuli.
We are interested in your concept of having a home / exhibition space.  How did Annroy happen and chat did you have in mind while creating it? Was there a particular concept from the past that you liked and it made you create a home/public space?
I always wanted to have a gallery/ studio space of my own - I'd been dreaming of it for a long time, so when this building became available I jumped at the chance to make it my own. I worked very closely with the architect throughout the whole refurbishment. I live in the top flat. Its very modern - quite stark, and all monochrome. It has incredible 360 views around London - its beautiful waking up in the morning and looking out at the panorama. I never tire of the view. 
I love the idea of my studio being a factory I don’t think of art as something that is singular. It’s best to work with groups and teams of people. That’s the way I was brought up. It’s exciting to come up with an idea on Monday afternoon and shoot it Tuesday morning.
Your biography – especially the past years – look like you must have a lot of projects going at once, and work more that seems usual.  How do you manage those tasks – do you have some sort of habits/systems/time management tools you use?
I think the worst thing about my job is also one of the best things about it too. It's like an addiction, I can't stop taking photos and planning what's next. I'm a total workaholic and I can't switch off. 
On the flip side, It's fantastic to do a job that I feel so passionate about that I do just want to work and work.
We really liked your shots of Patrick Wolf and he also seemed extremely happy talking about working with you. Can you tell us more about this project?
I did a project called Destory in collaboration with the charity Youth Music to celebrate their 10th birthday.  We got 70 of the worlds greatest musicians and visual artists to ‘destroy’ some of my more iconic images and shots taken of various musicians specifically for the project. We auctioned off the final artwork with all proceeds going to Youth Music. I also published a book of the work too.
You directed several music videos and shot a lot of musicians. Is music and important part of your lifestyle and how do you feel about all the current chase sin the music business?
It’s strange – music has taken a massive hit over the years in business terms, but musicians famous or not famous are still bringing out some great music. So go figure!! For me - what’s not to love about music!!  It’s in my heart and soul and I can’t even whistle!!
You are doing a lot of work for charity, do you get a lot of other requests by charities to work with you?
I get a lot of charities contacting me about working with them. I would like to help them all but I can only do so much.
I chose a few charities that are close to my heart and work on projects with them.
What books are on your coffee table now?
At the moment I’m reading a lot of kids’ books- my favourite authors are Anthony Horowitz and Eoin Colfer.
Some of your projects were using the internet as a medium of key importantce, such as Rankin Live – how important is being online for you? How do you feel about the social media and the corresponding questions regarding privacy and such?
I love the internet – it’s amazing, if slightly addictive.
The accessibility that the internet, iPads and digital gives you is something that really fascinates a photographer like me. Photography should be about pushing forward with technology and utilising it.
Social networking sites make things accessible, that is a good thing. Personally I prefer to do photo blogs – as I think they are more interesting from me! But there is a flip side to social networking – in that everybody thinks they’re an expert and that their opinions are validated. That is kind of scary, because people also talk a lot of shit!
We would like to ask about your plans for this year – especially things that people from abroad can get in touch with.
I have an exhibition in China planned for later this year – that will be pretty big. I am also working on a museom-scale show in Dusseldorf, for Spring 2012. I am currently working on book collaborations with my wife, and makeup artists Caroline Saulnier and Ayami Nishimura. I have just opened a gallery in LA, and I am going to be working on a series of exhibitions to show there.

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