Pin It
© Rankin's Cheeky. Photo © 2009 Rankin. All rights
© Rankin's Cheeky. Photo © 2009 Rankin. All rights reserved


We get up close and personal with nudity in an exhibition that showcases erotic works by Rankin

For Rankin, society’s susceptibility to become blasé towards nude shots of women does not come from the abundance of explicit images in everyday life, but owes itself to a lack of quality and an erotic aspect. He says: “I do think there are a lot of crap nude images out there that are not particularly erotic, evocative or attractive, so maybe that's why people find them boring or distasteful. I think that nudes have the power to be really emotive, and perhaps our ambivalence towards nudity is more of a question of the quality of the nude imagery that pervades."

These convictions have a great influence on the way Rankin approaches shooting nudes. “When you ask someone to pose naked, you are asking them to trust you a great deal,” he says. “I don't want any of the women to look or appear submissive, I want them to look in control and feel empowered. I never want my nude images to feel exploitative, so I approach my nude shoots knowing they will be really collaborative and involved. But I also want them to be provocative and fun and I'm definitely cheeky when I shoot nudes.”

Rankin’s fascination with erotic imagery is something he feels is universal and that it is this that stops people becoming bored or desensitized to nudes. Yet, despite the availability of nude imagery, there are still ways photographers are pushing the genre into less comfortable territory: “There are a lot of photographers doing erotic images of men. I think they're really interesting and sexy in a way, they just aren't as acceptable and therefore we don't see them enough. I love nudes. My own as well as other photographers.”

“There is no set formula for erotic images,” says Rankin. “Mystery can be created by looking at someone in an obvious way, but simultaneously drawing out an ambiguous emotion from the model. Good erotic images are smart and explorative and this can come from the emotion or the composition or both. Also these images are supposed to be fun and over analysis of them makes them boring.”

For the photographer shooting nudes, a level of personal enjoyment is not only inescapable but a necessary part of creating an erotic image, according to Rankin. Take it too seriously and you run the risk of creating something “creepy”.  Cheeky’s aesthetic finds beauty and most importantly delight in the naked body, which is what makes the collection of images truly erotic.

Cheeky showcases erotic photography through a selection of nudes and mischievous lingerie shots featuring the likes of Kate Moss, Lily Cole and Helena Christensen. The show brings together selected works taken from Rankin’s recently published book of the same title.

All images © Rankin's Cheeky, published by teNeues. Photo © 2009 Rankin. All rights reserved

Rankin’s Cheeky runs from March 11 – April 11 at Annroy Gallery in Kentish Town.