We said it would be epic, and epic it undeniably was! Creative HEAD’s second ever Featured Artist LIVE event, sponsored by BaByliss PRO, took place last night, with co-hosts Nick Irwin and Rankin delivering a beyond incredible experience that we’re sure will be talked about for months and years to come.
Gathering at Rankin Photographic Studios in North London – glasses of wine in hand, guests were treated to a fascinating 60-minute interview with our co-hosts, who – expertly prompted by Creative HEAD publisher Catherine Handcock – shared insight into what it takes to make it in the fast-paced, high-pressure fashion industry and talked candidly about the reality of making magic on-set. “Nick’s pushing, I’m pushing, everybody’s pushing. The buzz is in the next picture”, said Rankin.
Known, respected and published across the globe, Rankin – who co-founded Dazed & Confused magazine back in the early ‘90s before becoming a world-famous photographer, shooting some of the most famous names and faces on the planet – is known for his candid portraiture work. He’s photographed David Bowie and the Queen, for example, and he shot Dove’s ground-breaking ‘real women’ campaign back in the early ‘00s, stating: “It was one of the most famous things I’ve done.”
Nick Irwin started hairdressing in the mid ’80s and was soon recruited by Toni&Guy, where he was mentored by Anthony Mascolo while heading up the art team. In 2004 he joined TIGI International as the group’s European creative director, and over the next decade forged a creation direction recognised worldwide. Having met years earlier, it wasn’t until 2011 – when Rankin launched Hunger magazine and Nick was taking on more and more session work – that the pair began working together, a close collaboration that continues to this day.
Later, the studio was reset and 20 lucky attendees awaited a moment they’ll remember forever: having their portrait taken by Rankin! Armed with a myriad BaByliss PRO styling tools, Nick and his styling team – alongside make-up artist Marco Antonio – took care of spruces and touch-ups in Rankin’s famous Glam Room, and then it was time: lights, camera, action – Rankin and his mighty gang whipped up a storm on-set.
The atmosphere was mega, the energy electric and the scene a thrilling sight to behold – organised chaos and a buzz like no other as Rankin worked non-stop for the rest of the evening (and trust us, he smashed every single shot).
They said it, we heard it! Some of our favourite sound bites from the night:
“I prefer working with people who don’t play the big I Am. Being a dick doesn’t make you great” – Rankin
“The Rankin Group isn’t about me – that’d be really boring. I’m the captain of the ship, but if it was just me nothing would get done. I’d spend too much time thinking ‘Hmm, what can I do next?” – Rankin
“When Unilever bought TIGI in 2009, they pushed me to take on a lot more session work. I was older and more confident and importantly I wasn’t reliant on it for money. That’s when it started taking off for me” – Nick
“I’m lucky people don’t recognise me. I’ve seen fame very, very close and I’ve never desired it” – Rankin
“It’s honesty and not having an ego around each other – we’re able to take direction from one another, and always play to each other’s strengths” – Nick, on working with Rankin
“Charity work is a way for me to socially and morally reset the compass. I think it’s important to do something good for humanity” – Rankin
“It’s a really humbling experience – people start telling you what to do again” – Nick, on shifting full-time into session work
“Smile please, ma’am – smile please, ma’am – smile please, ma’am – smile please, ma’am… when you keep asking, eventually it’ll happen” – Rankin, on photographing the Queen