The new limited edition publication explores the aesthetics of destruction in apocalyptic images reminiscent of nuclear explosions or comets. Their creation became an intimate exploration for the photographer of artistic expression and his frustration during his isolation at Corona Lockdown.
The coffee table book is a very personal project for Rankin, largely related to his own psychological make-up. In 2020, Rankin found himself cut off from his studio and collaborators for the first time in his 30-year career. Forced to find a way to create work without personal interaction, the portrait photographer turned to nature.
"For years I have been obsessed with the perfection of a dandelion seed head. They're considered a weed, but they grow everywhere, especially in the city. And in a time of great stress, they gave me comfort," says Rankin.
By lighting dandelions (a symbol of courage, growth, hope and healing), Rankin found his own visual metaphor for his feelings and for the state of the world around him. However, these works are not only about destruction: "When fire burns in the forest, the old growth burns to make way for the new forest. By burning the dandelions, I have created mental space. I have found a new outlet for my creativity," says Rankin.
In addition to the new images, the coffee table book includes a personal introduction by Rankin and an interview with the artist in which he talks about the inspiration behind the works and his process. The photographer, often associated with celebrity portraits and high-profile campaigns, shows the other side of his artistry in An Exploding World.
"My still lifes are some of the purest images I have made since the 90s... They exist in the same world as my portraits or nudes, a new realisation of my fascination with beauty and death. These two themes have fascinated me throughout my career. And the older I get, the more they intertwine in my imagination."
The British photographer, publisher and film director is head of the eponymous agency RANKIN, which combines strategy, creativity and production under one roof with a team of more than 80 people. With RANKIN, he is best known for work that sets cultural trends for the future: He has produced groundbreaking campaigns for brands such as Rolls Royce, Unilever, L'Oreal and Samsonite, created projects for charities such as Women's Aid and Macmillan, and shot music videos for artists such as Miley Cyrus, Rita Ora and Kelis.
As a photographer, Rankin's portfolio ranges from portraits to documentaries. He has photographed the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Kate Moss, Kendall Jenner and the Queen, to name a few.
As a publisher, Rankin co-founded Dazed & Confused magazine with Jefferson Hack in 1991 and has since published over 40 books and the biannual print and digital platform Hunger, as well as magazines such as AnOther and AnOther Man.
His photographs have appeared in publications such as Elle, Vogue, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone and Wonderland and have been exhibited in museums around the world, including MoMA in New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.