That Time We Got Our Portrait Taken by Rankin

The morning started like any other. Actually no, no it did not. I woke up and freaked out, examined my pores in one of those magnifying mirrors, debated whether or not to wash my hair while standing in the shower for nearly an hour, and actually called Nick Haramis to see what he would be wearing to work today, the day that we would be getting our portraits taken by the renowned photographer Rankin. Just so we’re clear, it’s the same Rankin that has shot The Rolling Stones, Queen Elizabeth II, Tony Blair, and was commissioned by Nike and Bono for their R.E.D campaign in the fight against HIV/AIDS. That Rankin.

image My portrait on the screen while being photographed.

The shoot was for Rankin Live!, the New York version of his successful 2009 London show, in which he brought a museum-scale retrospective of his photographic life, together with a live shoot of over 1,500 Brits. Rankin invited people over thirteen years old who had a distinctive style, sense of British eccentricity, and enthusiasm to have their portrait taken. The portraits produced on the day were hung as part of the ever-changing exhibition and uploaded to the Rankin Live! website.

Rankin and his team have taken up residence at Milk Gallery, where they will be for five days photographing a series of portraits of New Yorkers in the gallery. The images will then be retouched and exhibited on each shoot day. Obviously, getting your photo taken by someone who has shot Kate Moss can be unnerving (especially when said portrait of Kate Moss is hanging on the wall nearby), but I had nothing to worry about. I slipped into my favorite beat-up leather jacket (and brought a change of clothes in case Nick showed up dressed to the nines) and went to Milk with damp hair. The hair and makeup team worked some magic on each of us (Nick didn’t need as much magic as I), and Rankin photographed us as if he were photographing a friend. He has a fantastic manner about him—funny and flattering—and he can make anyone feel absolutely comfortable, perhaps to the point where they start to believe they’re pretty good at getting their picture taken. The info I’m sharing here can be considered helpful since he is still looking for New Yorkers to photograph for the series.

The photographer is looking for people aged 16 and over who can bring their unique personalities and style to his set. If you’d like to be considered, you can submit a photo of yourself, and a brief explanation of your intention to rankinliveusa@rankin.co.uk. The most original applicants will be selected and invited to the Milk Gallery to have their personal shoot. The high volume of portraits will be rotated and hung each day, as part of this original exhibition, and it will be streamed online. Each portrait will cost $100, with all profits from the print sales going to the charity, Oxfam.

Rankin Open Exhibition: May 24th—June 10th Rankin Live! Shoot: June 1st—5th Opening Reception: May 24th, 7pm – 10pm Conversation w the Artist: June 1st, 2011

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