New Rankin retrospective captures U2, Aiden Gillen in their 90s heyday

The first major retrospective of one of the UK’s era-defining photographers opens tomorrow

U2, Twisting My Lemon Man, Dazed & Confused, Issue 30, 1997. (c) Rankin

A new exhibition by photographer Rankin, ‘Back in the Dazed’ highlights the photographer John Rankin’s prolific time as a photographer for cult magazine Dazed and Confused across the 1990s. From cult celebrities, to musical icons and some of the world’s top supermodels, Rankin was at the forefront of Cool Britannia and the 90’s style.

As co-founder and Dazed & Confused’s first photographic editor, the Scottish-born photographer’s visual style helped launch the magazine. Across 10 years Rankin photographed over 200 iconic editorial shoots for the magazine.

Kate Moss, What's The First Word That Comes Into Your Head_, Dazed & Confused, Issue 43, 1998 (c)Rankin
Charlie Watts, Give The Drummer Some, Dazed & Confused, Issue 70, 2000 (c)Rankin
Helena Christensen, Flesh For Fantasy, Dazed & Confused, Issue 33, 1997 (c)Rankin

Capturing some of the biggest bands at the time, including U2, Rankin spearheaded LGBTQIA+ representation, took his camera to the street to photograph working-class kids, became the leading photographer for Brit-pop bands, and created defining images of emerging cult actors.

“Those early years were great for experimentation,” recalls Rankin. “For me, just starting out, I was like a blank canvas. Because we were pretty naively fearless, we did things that ended up really changing culture.”

Aiden Gillen, Get Your Mojo Working, Dazed & Confused, Issue 40, 1998 (c)Rankin

Rankin co-founded Dazed & Confused with Jefferson Hack in 1992, and has since published AnOther and AnOther Man, in 2011 launching the magazine and digital platform, Hunger. His work has appeared in over 40 monograph publications and has been exhibited internationally, including at The National Portrait Gallery, London, V&A, London, and at MoMA, New York.]

David Bowie, No Different From Anyone Else_, Dazed & Confused, Issue 15, 1995, (c)Rankin
Debbie Harry, Eyes Wide Shut, Dazed, Issue 20, 1996 (c)Rankin Photo by obscura systems, Super-User

‘Back in the Dazed’ is the first retrospective in the UK of Rankin’s work over this decade.

Rankin is known too for his public appearances, talks and TV work, including in 2021 hosting “The Great British Photography Challenge” for the BBC. He has also produced and presented documentaries, primarily with the BBC, such as “The Seven Photographs that Changed Fashion”, “No Body’s Perfect”, and “Alive: In the Face of Death”, an in-depth documentary into the modern approach to death.

‘Back In the Dazed: Rankin 1991-2001”, starts May 28th and runs till June 23rd at 180 Studios, London. Tickets available from