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Alive before death

Rankin's new photo project takes a very 21st century view on life's oldest full-stop

Rankin, Dazed's co-founder, has spent his career photographing  life's highs and lows, but, for the last three months, he has been looking at death. The subjects documented in his ALIVE project have all stared death straight in the face. Some are survivors of terminal illnesses, like Sandra Barber, now greeting her fourth round of chemotherapy with the "warpaint" above. Some saw eternity's footman where they last expected it, and lived to tell the tale. Some look after the dead, some the living. All have seen death directly, that question mark we are so scared to confront, as Rankin himself explains: 

“Whenever I’ve been near mortality - whether in the Congo or witnessing a fatal accident – it just immediately crystallises everything that is important in makes you see your priorities clearly. Following the death of my parents six years ago I have had a strange relationship with death; only recently did it dawn on me quite how scared I am of it. I really wanted to challenge myself and confront these fears through ALIVE, and document that journey.” 

The project has been running for the last three months, part-supported with public submissions viewable through the website With 35 people shot already, it will culminate in a BBC documentary over the summer and an exhibition in Liverpool opening on the 17th May. As Sex Week kicks off on Dazed Digital, survey shots of the opposite end of Beckett's old plunger at the Walker Art Gallery from the week after next, or better yet, take part in ALIVE, email or visit ALIVEXRANKIN