Saturday, 26 February 2011

DANDY by Rankin

DANDY by Rankin

Well, this was an experience. I wrote to Rankin and asked if he would like to photograph me and he directed me to Rankin Live, a project where he was photographing 1,000 people for charity. Each person would pay £50 which was then donated to charity and, in return, he photographed them and gave them a print afterwards. So, of course I applied and had to state why I wanted to be photographed. I was then accepted and I had to decide what to wear. It said "Dress to impress"and initially I thought of being in black with a white tuxedo. It was Jane who suggested all the extras, the pig's nose, the little hat and the cane. But I am no cool dresser and so I thought that I had to be naked but keep the extras. Talking of which, the nose I had bought years ago, when I was acting, for a one-man play about a pig which never happened, the hat Jane saw in a shop and the cane I used when I played the fop, Sparkish, in "A Country Wife".

On the day, we arrived at this enormous studio with Rankin in the middle surrounded by about a dozen assistants. There were three computers and a big screen, two make-up girls and a hairdresser. When it came to my turn, we said hello to Rankin who is a bit of a lad but otherwise charming and very friendly and interested. He asked about my Parkinson's Disease and how it affected our sex life etc. We did the nude shot first and, when an assistant started to bring round the screens to protect my modesty, Jane told them not to bother as I didn't care. He showed us the first shots and we chose one between us and then he asked me to sit across a chair and pose for a close up.  Afterwards, he agreed to us using his photographs for my project. He also kindly said that a journalist from The Times was going to turn up later and that he would introduce him to me so that I could be interviewed about my project. And so it was that I met Hugo Rifkind and my interview appeared a few weeks later in the Saturday Times magazine.
A lot of people ask me what it was like to be photographed by him. It was great and it was great having Jane there. He is a nice guy and I felt very proud sometime later when we wangled a invitation to the Private View of his retrospective at the Truman Brewery  Building in Brick Lane when  I saw my photograph up on the wall with all the others. In fact, what I should have done was strip off and posed for a photo next to it but, to Jane's relief, I didn't.

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