Rankin – the photographer who, like Rihanna, is so famous he only needs the one name – has launched a new book of images that reflect on isolation.
Titled Embrace, the publication is being sold to raise funds for care workers, with all proceeds going towards The Care Workers' Charity. The images in Embrace were all created during the past year's lockdown, hence the isolation theme, which is played out through photography of decaying flowers.
Designed by London-based creative agency SEA, Embrace is printed using Fedrigoni's X-Per White and Sirio Color Nude papers and features UV lithographic print finishes. Rankin has frequently collaborated with SEA founder Bryan Edmondson in the past, who helped bring the solitarily created photos into a public, physical format; and also works in creative collaboration with Fedrigoni on his biannual Hunger Magazine.
"Self-isolation gave me the opportunity to take a step back and reflect on the disconnectedness we were all feeling," says Rankin. "For the first time in over 25 years, I was truly alone with my camera. The pandemic prevented me from capturing my usual subject matter—people—and provoked an entirely different artistic approach."
Usually known for his fashion-based portrait photography, taking pictures of flowers marked a new direction for Rankin when his usual subjects were off-limits. As such, he says he found himself shooting the flowers "like portraits, giving them personalities to bring them to life." This helped in his bid to create a body of work that both captured the loneliness and sadness that's been part and parcel of the pandemic for many people with a feeling of resilience and hope for the future, as underscored by the Embrace title.
The publication also includes images of Rankin creating the project in his studio, underscoring the project's bid to develop a sense of intimacy between the photographer and his audience.