For a photographer accustomed to looking at the people around him to find the right subject for his shots, finding himself locked in his home during the last lockdown was not easy on the work front either. After a 30-year career, Rankin found himself in his own studio, searching for a visual metaphor to represent his inner state.
An impactful image was needed, of something delicate that was about to be hopelessly destroyed, but somehow representing a world, the cosmos in a single element: a dandelion.
Out of this experience came the series contained in the recently released book An Exploding World, a 68-page full-color project and complementary to the 2021 project entitled Embrace.
Dandelions are pure flowers that are part of many people’s childhood memories and games. Rankin also sees this purity in his shots, on par with his more expressive shots of flesh-and-blood people. The flowers in this series catch fire, the still life is not yet destroyed, and the impression is that of seeing a galactic explosion, a miniature nuclear disaster, contained but no less frightening.
Rankin brings to An Exploding World the aesthetics of destruction and irreversibility, nature affecting the order of feelings exactly as has happened in the past two years because of the pandemic.
One of the British photographer’s goals was to make the photographs tangible and textural; the collaboration with Fedrigoni allowed him to find the physical sensations that would convey even better the warmth and delicacy of the subjects.