Photography Technique

‘Look Through the Camera, Not at the Camera’: Rankin’s Photography Advice

The legendary British photographer Rankin has shared an interesting piece of practical advice for photographers.

Speaking to Euronews at The Other Art Fair in London, Rankin offered guidance to photographers while faced with their subject.

“Every person is different, so the way that you establish any rapport depends on the person in front of you, everyone’s unique,” he says.

“But one of the things that’s very easy to do when you’re taking a photograph is, instead of talking about the camera, you know looking at the camera, talk about looking through the camera.”

Rankin goes on to explain that the technique “breaks down the idea” of a photoshoot being performative and “makes it much more intimate.”

Rankin was at the art fair showcasing his RankinLive project where he invites real members of the public in front of his camera and captures their portraits before hanging the resulting photo on a wall, all within 15 minutes.

“The one thing about photography that I love is that I just keep learning more and more and more,” he tells Euronews.

“And now everyone’s a photographer essentially, or can be a photographer, my relationship has become more than just about taking photographs. It’s about talking about photography, trying to get people to understand what it’s about, what it means, the power of photography.

“I’ve seen photographs that I’ve taken absolutely change someone’s life and that’s the kind of stuff that fascinates me, how powerful a photograph and photography can be in people’s lives. And how omnipresent it is in people’s lives and how we’re really just at the beginning of that change.”

‘Look Through the Camera, Not at the Camera’: Rankin’s Photography Advice

Rankin spoke of the “digital revolution” that has happened in photography, democratizing the medium which he describes as “dangerous” but also “very exciting.”

Rankin is one of the best-known photographers of the modern era, with superstars like Jay Z, Robert Downey Jr., and Queen Elizabeth II passing through his lens.

Last year, PetaPixel reported on Rankin’s encounter with the late Queen of England who turned down a pose request because she “hated” her hands being pictured.

Image credits: Photo of Rankin by Helenaver.

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