RANKIN: Sound Off - Musicians 1990-23

12 March 2024 to 24 March 2024 TIN MAN ART

Charts the career of a photographer at the zenith of his art

Responsible for some of the most iconic editorial shoots and album artwork of the 1990s and 2000s, Rankin has photographed the biggest British bands, including Pulp and Radiohead, pop superstars such as the Spice Girls and Dua Lipa, and cult heroes like Michael Stipe and PJ Harvey. Over a carefully curated selection of portraits, Sound Off showcases Rankin ́s ability to create images that came to define the zeitgeist, as well exploring the personalities behind each musician’s persona.

Rankin’s art has always been part of the music scene, beginning with the seminal magazine Dazed & Confused, which he set-up with Jefferson Hack in 1990 (now known as Dazed). The magazine was a central part of the cultural renaissance that swept through 90s Britain, placing provocative images alongside the music, art and fashion that defined a decade.  Embracing a DIY culture, the magazine was embedded in the night-club scene and featured both established stars such as David Bowie and Debbie Harry, as well as breakthrough acts like Robbie Williams and Oasis. Music is also a vital component of Rankin ́s photographic practice, with shoots usually accompanied by a loud soundtrack. 

Sound Off gives viewers the opportunity to understand the challenges that are presented when photographing iconic figures. 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. As Rankin notes, “I get asked all the time what celebrities are really like. My mantra now is “They’re just people too.”

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. 

Rankin comments: “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: Sound Off - Musicians 1990-23 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.


Further Information: TIN MAN ART | London | Hampshire Gallery