To say I was a little nervous in the lead up to my photo shoot with Rankin would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions.
You see, for me, this was more than having my photo taken. This was meeting one of my artistic heroes. For years I have been a fan of his work; enjoying his exhibitions, following him on-line, and avidly reading and studying his work in Dazed & Confused – which he co-founded.
So, while The (lovely but not very up-to-date on all things fashion/media/pop-culture) Boy was a little confused as to what the fuss was all about, I was a giddy mess.
First up, the outfit dilemma. We were asked to wear something that suits our personality. Sounds simple…unless you’re a multi-faceted nutjob like myself. Should I go with Boho? Clubby? Sophisticated? Rock chick? Quirky? Naked?
Due to my ridiculous and unfortunate skintness, buying something new was pretty much out of the question, and I’m no thief, so borrowing seemed the best way to go. Amazingly and thankfully, the lovely guys at e.g… welcomed my cheeky request to wear something from their divine AW09 collection, and pointed me in the direction of Rebecca at Felicities to choose whatever I like best from their line. WOW.
So there I was, armed with a bag full of shoes, heading to uber-cool Shoreditch in the sweltering heat. I’d like to think I was elegantly “glowing” by the time I reached Felicities fabulous showroom, but I think in truth I resembled a little bit of a sweltering mess. Attractive. Lucky for me hair and make up were being taken care of at the shoot…
Rebecca was wonderful, helping me sort through the e.g… collection and choosing what can only be described as the most FABULOUS structured jacket, which nipped in at the waist yet sat comfortably over my ample bosom. And the shoulders. HUGE! I finished the look with a gorgeous low cut soft cotton vest, leggings and my favouite tan shoe boots. Thank you e.g… I was ready to go.
After a quick and sneaky beer at The Big Chill Bar to calm my nerves, my great mate Giles and I headed up to the Gallery. Everyone made us feel amazing, from the girls working at the door, to Laura who walked us through the maze of an exhibition, to the brilliantly talented hair and make up girls and finally….the man himself.
Hmmm…so the little bit of a wait didn’t help the butterflies in my stomach, but we had the opportunity to watch other people get snapped and saw the results flash up on a huge projection screen. It was an absolute joy to witness – seeing how these normal, every day people got transformed into superstars before our eyes. The whole room was buzzing – with music blasting, Rankin dancing, the sound of laughter and lots of happy faces…as people walked away astounded by their final shots.
And then they called me over. I seriously considered running away, the nerves were so strong. But I donned my fantastic jacket, took a last little swig of beer…and met the master.
Rankin himself could not have been more fantastic. The nerves slipped away as he made me laugh from the outset; chatting, joking, dancing and snapping away. There wasn’t even time to be overwhelmed by the huge, glaring lights inches away from my chin, or the wind machine whipping up a storm in my hair. All I could concentrate on were his directions – chin down, look at me, smile with the eyes, hands through the hair, shoulder round…
And then, we took a break and stepped over to the viewing screens. A couple of notes made, we stepped back, repeated, Rankin snapped a couple more times and we had the shot.
I’d just had my picture taken by Rankin.
All of the photographs taken were great, but the winner was immeditaly clear to all of us. It bounced off the screen and stood out from the rest of the series – the eyes were cheeky – the angles were right – it looked incredible! Bloody hell…that man certainly knows what he’s doing.
One beer and half an hour later, I had the final print in my hand, a copy was up in the exhibition, and at least 6 of the crew had asked me where my jacket was from.
OK, so the second the adrenalin stopped coursing through my veins the pain hit. It hurt. The train ride home with The Boy was exhausting and this morning my broken body and I can hardly move.
But was it worth it?
Hell yes…I’d do it again in a second!
I’m now convinced Rankin is a genius. His team are superb. Emma at e.g… and Rebecca at Felicities are lifesavers. The Boy and Giles are saints for putting up with my nerves, and consequent second by second re-runs, assessments and 352 looks at the photo (so far).
If you get the chance to go to the exhibition, please do. It’s huge and it’s breathtaking. You will see so many iconic images you didn’t know Rankin took. There’s a whole room full of Kate Moss, another of Heidi Klum, plus other famous faces from The Rolling Stones to Her Majesty the Queen. You’ll have fun, you’ll laugh, and if you go to the very back of the gallery you might even get to see what the whole experience is like for yourself – there’s a viewing area where you can watch the shoots happening.
Plus you’ll get to see my picture up close and personal on the viewing wall!