He first became famous as the founder of Dazed and Confused magazine (along with Jefferson Hack), and for his photography of models including Kate Moss and Heidi Klum, celebrities such as Madonna and David Bowie and his portrait of Elizabeth II.
His work has appeared in magazines such as GQ, Vogue and Marie Claire. In 2011 Rankin started the biannual fashion, culture and lifestyle magazine, Hunger and launched Rankin Film to produce and direct his own commercial and editorial film work.
Rankin’s subjects are quite varied, and his publicity campaigns are even more so, working landmark editorial and advertising campaigns for some of the biggest and most celebrated publications, brands and charities including L’Oreal, Dove, Pantene, Diageo, Women’s Aid, Comic Relief and Oxfam. Others famous works are his Female Nudes from 1999, Rankin Male Nudes from 2000, Breeding: A Study of Sexual Ambiguity from 2004, and Beautiful from 2007, which have all been published as books. He has created music videos for the likes of Miley Cyrus, Rita Ora and Kelis.