Macmillan Cancer Support has enlisted photographer Rankin to capture the parents, partners and relatives of people with cancer who relinquished their hair as part of the charity’s Brave the Shave fundraising campaign.
The monochrome stills include portraits of Jenny Deverell and her five-year-old daughter Seren, who was diagnosed with a children’s cancer known as Wilms’ tumour, and Keith Wood, whose wife Emma died of the disease last year at the age of 36.
Rankin, who lost his mother to lung cancer, invited the subjects to his London studio for the shoot. He spent the day photographing, filming and interviewing them about the personal experiences that have inspired them to Brave the Shave.
The result is nine black and white portraits that manage to evoke joy as well as pain, as well as a campaign film that includes shots of the hair shaving process.
Rankin said he wanted to showcase these emotive reasons behind the campaign, which has raised over £12.6m to fund the emotional, financial, medical and practical support for people affected by cancer since it began in 2015.
“This was an incredible project to work on and one very close to my heart,” he explained. “I know how hard it is to watch someone you love go through cancer from the side lines. It can make you feel totally helpless.
“Everybody who stood in front of my camera was there because someone they care about deeply has been impacted by cancer – and as a result, they have too. But their Brave the Shave means Macmillan Cancer Support can be there for millions more people affected by cancer and their families, and I am in awe of them for that.”
Macmillan fundraising manager, Lisa Shorter, added: “These portraits convey the moving and personal reasons we know drive people to sign up for Brave the Shave every year.
“Not everyone can run a marathon or climb a mountain, and Brave the Shave is another way to help the millions of people diagnosed with cancer each year, and we are so grateful to everyone who takes part.”