Rankin and his sister Susanne on their special relationship
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The photographer Rankin and his sister Susanne on their relationship as siblings, house mates and colleagues
HER STORY Susanne Waddell, 41, publisher
When we were growing up in Glasgow Rankin could be really mean, really wild and was always late for everything. I was the more emotional, reliable one. We moved to St Albans when I was 10 and Rankin’s wildness reached new levels. One New Year’s Eve, he babysat while our parents were at a party. I found him in the kitchen messing about with a dead turkey. Suddenly the turkey started flapping. “It’s alive!’ he boomed. He’d attached it to a car battery.
Mum and Dad moved back up north during my A levels and Rankin and I lived on our own in the family home. He’d host mad parties – on week nights – and I’d find strangers cutting each other’s hair in our bathroom, bands doing photoshoots in the living room. He was always centre of attention. If I’d ever wanted to be the alpha sibling, our relationship wouldn’t be as good.
By the time I finished uni, Rankin was taking photographs of well-known people: Kate Moss was always at our place. It was early days for Dazed & Confused so he asked if I wanted to help with the business side for a bit. It turned into a long time.
Eight years ago, Dad died of a heart attack and Mum of cancer three weeks later. Their death brought us even closer. Rankin developed a building for his studio, offices, and an apartment on the top floor where he lives with his wife and son, Lyle. I live on the second floor with my partner and son. Rankin takes on a lot of responsibility for lots of people, including his family. I talk more to his wife than to him sometimes, but if it’s something really serious, it’s my brother I turn to.
HIS STORY Rankin, 46, photographer
Dad and I would take the mickey out of Susanne. She bore the brunt of many a prank. The teasing subsided when Susanne joined me at senior school. We weren’t close, but I definitely looked out for her. She was five years my junior and I guess it wasn’t cool to hang around with someone that much younger. .
We grew closer when we lived together on our own. I’d just left accountancy to take up photography and I was late to the industry and playing catch-up. I didn’t drink until I was 18 or 19, or smoke, or do drugs. Those mental parties I threw weren’t seedy in that way. That all came later.
Success didn’t just come overnight. During that time, Susanne stood by me. When things started blowing up with Dazed, her life and mine became incredibly entwined. I knew I could trust her. She was intelligent and I felt secure having her in the gang because she had my best interest at heart. She’s practical, loyal and if she left the business now it would collapse. We became really close when I was 30, after my first marriage ended: she was so good with my son, Lyle.
It was important having that family time before our parents passed away. Those moments back at the house after the funerals… I consider our relationship to be very Scottish: Susanne is steady, normal, stoic and we don’t hug much. I take her for granted, but I’m always there when she needs me. She knows how much I love her, but we never talk about it. There’s just a lot of glue between us.
Rankin’s ALIVE: In the Face of Death is at the Walker Art Gallery until 15 September as part of the LOOK/13 photo festival (lookphotofestival.com)
via Art and design: Photography | guardian.co.uk http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/02/rankin-and-his-sister-special-relationship Katie Burnetts Thanks for reading Jay
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