Rankin: Looking Down The Lens At Terminal illness

The Photographer Rankin best known for snapping some of the world’s most famous faces, Including Kate Moss, The Queen and Tony Blair has produced a series of images depicting ordinary people with terminal illnesses.

Featuring more than 70 images, in ‘Alive: In The Face of Death’, photographer Rankin sets out to explore and challenge our perceptions of death. Through his lens, the stories of those touched by death are revealed.  They include people living with a terminal illness, those who have faced death and survived, and those who work within the death industry.

One portrait is of 48-year-old Mum, Sandra, who was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago.  In Rankin’s image of her, Sandra feels she is displaying her ‘inner warrior’ as she battles her condition. Death; we can deny it and medicine can delay it, but it is life’s only certainty. Despite this, it remains the ultimate taboo in British society today.

Rankin’s own response to the subject is reflected in a series of self-portraits and in his ‘life masks’. These include images of living stars such as Jarvis Cocker, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joanna Lumley along with those who have passed away such as Marlon Brando and Peter Cushing.

In these powerful works, Rankin encourages the sitters to examine their own experiences and feelings about death. The resulting images capture their determination, optimism and sheer zest for life.

Alive: In The Face of Death – 17 May – 15 September 2013 – Walker Art Gallery Liverpool – Free

Photo: © Rankin  twins Sam and Dan suffer from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

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