A CONVERSATION with RANKIN

Interview by Barbara Laneve

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John Rankin Waddell, better known as Rankin, is not just a photographer: he’s got the talent envision anything linked to fashion, music and lifestyle for more than 20 years with a huge enthusiasm.
He’s founder of Dazed&Confused, AnOther Magazine (both with Jefferson Hack) and finally,  the new born Hunger.
Hunger is already counting 6 issues and the last one celebrates Great Britain’s cultural boom, as he calls it, “The Might Blighy”, with 20 collectable covers, featuring british talent dressed in a selection of international fashion brands.
In addition, on Monday the March 3rd  he inaugurated an exhibition in Paris, titled A Little More Rankin, presentated by The Hunger Magazine and Arnaud Adida at the A. Galerie. The exhibition will run until April 19th.
 
We talked about his totally “made in UK” ability to react with arts to different period of recession from 90′s until today.
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After founding and directing two magazine as “Dazed and Confused” and “AnOther”, datum points to go straight to the next big thing, now you’re running with HUNGER. What’s new with this project?

Hunger was born in November 2011 and is a fashion and culture bi-annual that publishes to coincide with Fashion Weeks. Our strap line ‘For the Culturally & Visually Hungry’ is as still as relevant today as it was back then. In fact it was my own hunger to create and bring my vision to a wider audience that prompted me to start it, that and the fact that I realised how much I had missed the creative process and camaraderie that comes from bringing a magazine together.  Although in magazine terms we are still in our infancy, I’m really proud and excited about how we’re evolving and the talent we are bringing on board for each issue. For issue 6 we’ve worked with some really great contributors including stylists Kim Howells and Chris Benns who shot our main fashion stories as well as the amazing make up artist Andrew Gallimore.  We chose the title ‘Mighty Blighty’ as it was meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek but at the same time representative. We’re proud of our achievements but also didn’t want to sound too pompous or nationalistic either, and one of the facets of our culture we wanted to celebrate was, of course, our offbeat sense of humour.  It felt like our little island had been experiencing a bit of cultural renaissance over the last decade,  so it felt right to honour that with the new issue of Hunger.

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England has gone through different periods of  recession, from the post Thatcher until nowadays, and you always used your creativity as a kind of weapon against the system (for the 6th issue of Hunger there are 20 different covers). What really makes you so brave?

Why not be bold?  If I’m honest I do love a challenge – just ask anyone in my team! In fact, the decision to publish twenty front cover stars was more about celebrating the talent that our island was producing and the success we were having on a global level.  It was actually hard to whittle it down to just twenty, but we had to stop shooting and put the issue to bed at some point! I think it’s interesting that you describe creativity as a weapon. I certainly felt over the past six months that Britain is burning creatively, our actors and directors winning global awards, our musicians selling out world tours and our fashion and art is still as inspirational and as relevant as ever. The new issue of Hunger is about celebrating that creative fire.

How do you think the recession has impacted on the creative industries (like fashion and music) since then and how do you think they have responded?

It’s strange, but in times of economic instability, its often the case that creativity thrives. There are openings and opportunities that are closed during more prosperous times, and people think more laterally and creatively about how to push their messages and causes.

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Do you think there is or there will be another country, apart from “the Mighty Blighty” Great Britain, that can respond in such a positive and productive way to these difficult times? For the last 20 years you have been successfully launching magazines that seem to capture the moment, the era and that feed our desires. How do you think this translates today?

Thanks for the compliment, but we’re just doing what feels right.  Of course there have been and will be many other other countries and pockets of the globe responding creatively and positively to difficult situations, it’s part of the human condition.
We have selected a few covers from HUNGER’s last issue. All photos by RANKIN ©

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