RANKIN Celebrates 30 years of Music Icons with ‘Sound Off (Musicians 1990-2023)’ Exhibition at TIN MAN ART

Spice Girls, From Behind, Big Issue, 1997, (c)Rankin

TIN MAN ART presents RANKIN: Sound Off (Musicians 1990-2023), a selection of 19 limited edition photographs of musical icons from the past 3 decades including Bjork, David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Dua Lipa, Jay-Z, Kylie, Oasis, PJ Harvey, Spice Girls, Stormzy, Radiohead and the Rolling Stones.

Rankin made a name for himself photographing some of the biggest bands of the 1990s and 2000s and creating some of the most iconic editorial shoots and album artwork of the era, in the process becoming as much of a household name as the OG Rock n’Roll photographer David Bailey, who lensed iconic images of the swinging 60s and hedonistic 70s.  Rankin’s TIN MAN ART exhibition Sound Off features a carefully curated selection of portraits that showcase Rankin’s ability to create zeitgeist-defining images and capture the persona of the musicians.  Although some of these images have been published and exhibited at international museum level, this is the first time that shots of Thom Yorke, Michael Stipe and Kylie Minogue among others have ever been made available for sale. 

PJ Harvey, Woman of the Year, Q Magazine, 2001 (c)Rankin

Rankin has been part of the music scene since co-founding Dazed & Confused with Jefferson Hack in 1990, an era-defining magazine that was at the heart of the cultural renaissance sweeping through 90s Britain. Dazed & Confused embraced a DIY culture and was embedded in the night-club scene, featuring established stars such as David Bowie and Debbie Harry, as well as breakthrough acts like Robbie Williams and Oasis. Rankin’s photo shoots are usually accompanied by a loud soundtrack, and he creates a unique and personal atmosphere in his studio, creating a space for the subject to be themselves.  

Sound Off gives viewers the opportunity to understand the challenges that are presented when photographing iconic figures. As Rankin explains of shooting Debbie Harry, “you really have to try and push every image you’ve seen of her out of your mind when you photograph her. Everyone has seen hundreds of amazing pictures of her, you have to make a real effort to be different”.

In a career that has seen him photograph everyone from royalty to rock stars, it is this ability to capture both the public and private personas that has struck chord with viewers.

Keith Richards, Smokey Keith, 2002 (c)Rankin

“I get asked all the time what celebrities are really like. My mantra now is ‘They’re just people too’”.Rankin

Still with a finger on the pulse of popular culture, Rankin’s love-affair with music photography has continued with his current magazine, HUNGER. As evident in “Sound Off” with images of British hip-hop and Grime stars, Loyle Carner and Stormzy, his drive to create bold yet intimate imagery is still at the heart of his practice.

“From intriguing characters, to up-and-coming artists with diverse skills and an exciting approach to the world – these people and their work is what really excites me. I’ve been honoured to have met some of the great and the good across music, but what has always kept me shooting is the idea of finding the next thing.”  Rankin

Rankin’s solo exhibition at TIN MAN ART follows two sold-out shows featuring artworks by one of the photographer’s most famous subjects, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, who presented his ‘The Crow Flies’ series of landscapes, created in collaboration with artist Stanley Donwood, with TIN MAN ART last year. One of Rankin’s favourite portraits of Radiohead is included in the show.  

David Bowie, No Different From Anyone Else_, Dazed & Confused, Issue 15, 1995, (c)Rankin

‘RANKIN: Sound Off (Musicians 1990-2023) charts the career of a photographer at the zenith of his art, one who was originally inspired by the album art of his childhood, and has since captured some of the most celebrated musicians of his time. 

“Going back through my archive, the funniest thing that struck me was how many of these images the artists didn’t like at the time. Their hair was out of place, they didn’t like the concept of the shoot, they didn’t like me. But now, how perfectly those images seem to embody who they were. It’s as if all of the little bits that make a shoot—the hair, makeup, styling—come together to codify a career through imagery.”RANKIN

“Rankin’s visionary photography and publishing has transfixed music lovers for 30 years. The works in this show empower and iconise an array of musical artists—for me, there are moments where we see pop transcend into folklore.”TIN MAN ART director James Elwes

RANKIN: Sound Off (Musicians 1990-2023) is at Tin Man Art, Cromwell Place, London until 24th March.

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