Rankin's career began after dropping out of Brighton Polytechnic whilst studying accounting, aged 21, when he realised that photography was his "true calling", transferring to study photography at London College of Printing. It was at this time that he networked, and made connections that would cement his future prospects- befriending Jefferson Hack, of whom had a keen passion for magazine journalism (later going on to be romantically linked to model, Kate Moss, and to be the co-editor of Dazed & Confused with Rankin).
Rankin has a very impressive portfolio of models and celebrities he has photographed, thanks to the global success of Dazed& Confused, including: Britney Spears, Kate Moss, The Spice Girls, Bjork, David Bowie, Juliette Binoche, The Rolling Stones, Vivienne Westwood, Damien Hirst, Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth II.
Influenced by his roots in fashion photography and magazine publication, Rankin has been noted for his interaction and introduction of the general public to his work- famously bringing a museum scale retrospective of the last twenty-two years of his life, together with 1500 portraits of the British public, emphasising British eccentricity, enthusiasm and originality. The participants involved were invited to the exhibition to sit for their personal shoot, with the images produced on the day, and hung as part of the ever-changing exhibition.
Including his work with endless celebrities, Rankin has worked with many brand companies for advertising, including Nike, Marks and Spencer's, Rimmel, Dove, and Coca Cola- as well as working personally with musicians in their music videos and promo for artists including: Nelly Furtardo 'Say It Right', Marina and the Diamonds 'I Am Not A Robot' etc...