Celeb snapper Rankin focuses on demise in on-line present

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© Reuters. Lost for Words exhibition by Rankin in London

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By Hanna Rantala

LONDON (Reuters) – Rankin, the British photographer best known for his shots of celebrities and supermodels, has turned his lens to the subject of death in a online exhibition that opened on Monday.

“Lost for Words” consists of portraits of people with images of their deceased loved ones projected onto them. Alongside the pictures, they talk about their experiences of grief and loss in videoed interviews.

“The two things that happen to everybody is you’re born and you die. We all talk about birth like it’s going out of fashion. None of us talk about death,” Rankin – full name John Rankin Waddell – told Reuters in October while working on the show in his north London studio.

Some of the subjects are well known, including the mother and brother of Stephen Lawrence, a Black London teenager who was murdered in 1993 in an unprovoked racist attack.

Others were chosen for the stories they had to share, including London mother-of-four Ouida Wickramaratne, who lost her 17-year-old son Daniel to COVID-19 in April.

She posed in front of a photo showing Daniel, who had cerebral palsy, on holiday in Spain last year in the sea in a floating chair.

She broke down when she first saw the picture projected on the wall. The photo shoot showed how far she had come since then, she told Reuters.

“I’m getting there, because I wouldn’t have been able to even do this in the first few months. It’s six months now. I’m getting there.”

The exhibition, which is meant to encourage people to get over the taboo of death and talk about it, can been seen at https://lostforwords.royallondon.com.

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