John Rankin is a portrait photographer who recently created a documentary on him recreating 7 iconic fashion photographs from different time periods. In this blog, I will be comparing the original photographs and Rankin’s versions of these photographs and talking about each one and with additional information about each one.

Cecil Beaton

  • Cecil Beaton was a n English photographer who would mainly base his work around  fashion.
  • His most famous piece was of the White Panama Hat which he took in 1934 with a 10 x 8 camera.

On the left, is Rankin’s version of Beaton’s work and on the right is the original image by Cecil Beaton himself. I think they both look equally good and both an relate to each other. However, I believe that Rankin’s version is made to represent the change in fashion and has re-created this look with a 21st century addition in fashion. Beaton’s version is of the 1930’s fashion sense and so gives the original its own personal look to it. white-panama-hat


Erwin Blumenfeld

  • Erwin Blumenfeld was a vogue photographer.
  • He was a very daring photographer. One photo which made people take notice was that he took a photo of a model walking along the edge of the top of the Eiffel Tower.
  • However, his most popular and recognisable piece was the cover of Vogue he provided in 1950.

On the right is Rankin’s version of the magazine cover and on the left is Blumenfeld’s version of the image. I actually prefer Rankin’s version of the image because it is more cheeky and funky in some ways and I think this can engage with readers better at a first glimpserankin_doc_02


David Bailey

  • David Bailey is probably one of the most famous photographers known and has done many amazing and unique photographs.
  • One of his most iconic photos though is of David Bailey’s girlfriend at the time. For this re-creation by Rankin, he decided to use his own girlfriend – Model, Tuuli.

On the left in David Baileys version of the photograph including his girlfriend (at the time). On the right is Rankin’s version of the image with his girlfriend Tuuli ad the model. I think that David Bailey version is better because of the fact that there are more shadows which shows the details on her body much better than in Rankin’s version of the image.



Richard Avedon

  • Richard Avedon was a popular photographer in the 1940’s and early 1950’s.
  • He has created many amazing photographs but his most popular and stunning image which made people wonder about his photography work.

On the left, is Avedon’s original version of the image and on the right is Rankin’s re-creation of the image. When first seeing the original image I thought that it was very unique and completely different to the fashion photography that you see today. However, when watching the documentary of Rankin re-creating these images, I noticed that in Avedon’s image, the elephants are chained down. Me, being a huge animal lover, immediately turned to Rankin’s version of the image due to the fact that the elephants were being treat with respect and during the taking of the photo, I could see how the elephants were being treated and that was in so much more care than in Avedon’s original image.



Herb Ritz

  • In this image, there is a basically a very muscular man holding a pair of tires.
  • This image caused quite a lot of talk because of its slightly sexual theme that was coming from it. Many people thought it was meant to be sexual and that Herb Ritz was trying to express gay sexuality through this image.
  • It was also taken in the period where male models were becoming more and more popular in the photography world.

On the left is the original photograph by Herb Ritz and on the right is Rankin’s re-creation of the image. Herb Ritz has managed to capture this image really well as the light that is hitting the model makes him stand out from the rest of the image. Although Ritz’s version was a ‘one-of-a-kind’ at the time, I still prefer Rankin’s version because it look less staged with how he is stood and how is postured is. In Ritz’s image, he is stood as if he has been put there and doesn’t actually works there but in Rankin’s version, he appears to actually work there and is just relaxed rather than just tensing his muscles for the photo. Rankin’s version looks more like a believable version.



Helmut Newton

  • Helmut Newton reinvented fashion photography.
  • His photo below was actually taken just outside his Paris apartment.

On the left is Newton’s original version and on the right is Rankin’s version. I like both of these images due to many reasons. One reason is because it shows how the street has changed from when it was first taken in 1975and then in 2008 by Rankin. In Newton’s image, it has more of a feeling where you want to question what is happening in the image. This is because the wet floor is reflecting much more detail onto the camera and so this gives Newton’s image a better look. With Rankin’s version, it didn’t possess the detail and right mood that Newton captures in his original image.

Guy Bourdin

  • Guy Bourdin took many photographs related mainly to fashion.
  • He was mainly active during the 1970’s period and his work was unique, eye-popping and very, very different.

At the top, is Bourdin’s original image and on the bottom is Rankin’s re-creation of the image. I like Bourdin’s image because he has captured it really well by allowing space between the leg and the shadow of the leg on the wall. Also the colours he had used within the image work really well together. In Rankin’s version of the image, I think that it is too much by adding extra colour with the red tights. However, I do like the fact that the model he used has longer hair than the original and so creates more of a shadow on the wall behind her. Although I think this, I prefer Bourdin’s version of the photograph because it is simple with the use of colours but it is really effective.