DESILLUSION X RANKIN
In 1999, Desillusion didn’t exist yet but the pioneer of youth culture did. The magazine Dazed & confused were just celebrating their 8th birthday. One of the founders, Rankin, a photographer by trade, had come up with this project to intermix youth grunge/rock and fashion, skateboardersand the art world, a cultural mix in the broadest sense of the term which is still successful to this day. It was during that period that he began his photographic series “Snogging”, an ode to adolescence and freedom, shared moments of intimacy. 16 years later, we decided to partner with Rankin, for the edition of a series of 3 skateboard decks in limited edition, repeating the iconic images of his first series. Extract.
What possessed you to start up a magazine like Dazed & Confused in 91?
Essentially Jefferson and I were in the right place at the right time. We started it in the middle of a recession so people had nothing to lose; there were no jobs going around and with the advent of desktop publishing it meant we could do it ourselves. We were fascinated by the clash between high and low culture and it was an amazing time for music, art, fashion - we were just hungry to create something at a time when it all came together.
Do you think magazines still hold a relevant place in today’s world of arts, fashion & culture?
Yes. In a way they’re cheap art. You can buy a magazine, tear something out that inspires you and stick it on your wall. It can make great art democratic.
How will they play out in the coming years?
People talk about print being dead but I think that’s a shortsighted attitude. You can’t just live with one thing like the internet, in the same way as now you can’t just have a magazine. You need a broader perspective and that’s what digital has done. It’s a beneficial partnership where if it works the website backs up the print.
What are the main differences between making Dazed back in the day, and making Hunger now?
We didn’t have so many platforms to reach our audience in the Dazed years. A magazine came out once a month and it was a big deal—now your readers expect information on a daily basis. The explosion of social media revolutionized how we receive information but also how we distribute it.
Has the internet destroyed the tangible notion of buying and holding a magazine?
No, I think it’s just created another shop window for people to look at. When I look around my office I’ve got tonnes of books and it will always be like that. There’s something sacred about the tangible because if the content is great people will always want to hang on to it.
How did people react to you shooting photos of them snogging?
They were all volunteers, some of them didn't know each other, lots were friends or in relationships, but most seemed to enjoy it. I sometimes wonder if any of them are still together?!
Any funny stories or anecdotes from the projects?
I don’t think one of the older couples had kissed in quite a while, so it felt like we may have been rekindling something! Another couple I’d had a relationship with the girl and I felt quite strange watching her kiss her new boyfriend, I felt she may have been doing it intentionally.
You’ve often spoken about not ‘fitting in’. Did the outcast culture of skateboarding ever speak to you? Did the whole Larry Clark ‘KIDS’ era ever resonate truth or influence your work?
I loved Kids – though I was a bit older than that generation, Dazed & Confused was definitely aimed at those types of readers.
Growing up who inspired you?
Richard Avedon, Bailey, Irving Penn, Andy Warhol, The Jam.
What’s the biggest mistake photographers make today?
You shouldn’t think that the camera is the most important thing. Photography is more than just the tools you’re using; it’s about light, people and relationships. Look outside of the lens.
What’s the biggest mistake magazines make today?
You’ve got to have your own voice when publishing. You can’t suck up or follow because what’s the point, you’ve got to find what you want to say and express it in the way you want to.
Best piece of advice in life?
Be honest in your work because people can always tell the difference.