‘Back in the Dazed’: Revisiting the rebellious 90s through Rankin’s lens

Charting the photographer’s pioneering work at Dazed & Confused magazine, this new exhibition captures a rebellious era in photography.

Photographer Rankin cemented himself at the forefront of pop culture back in the 90s thanks to his legendary flicks of superstar celebrities and countercultural figures as co-founder and the first photographic editor at Dazed & Confused.

Now, thanks to a new exhibition titled Back in the Dazed, Rankin is revisiting his era-defining photography from between 1991 and 2001 – a period in which he shot over 200 figures moving the needle across culture.

Kate Moss What’s the First Word That Comes Into Your Head? Dazed & Confused, Issue 43 1998 ©Rankin

Meanwhile, also across that decade, Rankin’s photography would transcend imagery, as he spearheaded mainstream LGBTQIA+ representation, and would take his camera onto the street to photograph working-class children, handing notions of “high culture” to everyday people.

Aron & Chris Feel It Dazed & Confused, Issue 63 2000 ©Rankin

“Those early years were great for experimentation,” says Rankin of the period. For me, just starting out, I was like a blank canvas. Because we were pretty naively fearless, we did things that ended up really changing culture. It was from that time that I learnt that I love what I do, and I fell in love with the people around me – capturing them all on medium format film.”

With everyone from the likes of Blur and David Bowie to Kate Moss and Kylie Minogue, Rankin’s photography knew no boundaries, and the exhibition – which will take place at 180 The Strand – provides the first retrospective in the UK of Rankin’s groundbreaking works over this prescient decade.

Think of your favourite young actor or pop star from the 1990s – invariably you are remembering a Rankin picture,” says Ellen Stone, Curator of the exhibition. 

Back in the Dazed is running at London’s 180 The Strand from May 29 until June 23, 2024.