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Rankin reveals he was initially shunned by father for chasing creative dream


By John Glenday, Reporter

October 31, 2022 | 4 min read

In new podcast ‘Working Class to World Class’, debut guest Rankin goes on the record about family, photography, fame, digging into his difficulties in committing to a creative career.


Rankin reveals he was shunned by father after unveiling creative dream / Rankin Creative

The world-renowned photographer Rankin has opened up about his childhood growing up on the outskirts of Glasgow and the strain he felt with his father upon pursuing his creative passion.

On the new podcast from The Drum's managing director of events Lynn Lester, Rankin revealed that his father initially refused to speak to him after he expressed a desire to pursue a career in photography. “I remember when I decided to become a photographer, my dad wouldn’t talk with me. He said you’re throwing everything away, like on a pipe dream”.

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Rankin soon received his father's full backing. And this paternal support was in evidence during the precocious creative's formative years, when his potential was questioned at school.

Despite going on to become one of the world’s most celebrated photographers and capturing images of many of the most famous faces of the Twentieth Century – including Queen Elizabeth II, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Madonna, Tony Blair, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Spice Girls and many more – Rankin recalls that a former English teacher once described him as lacking imagination – a description that his father fiercely defended.

“No, it can’t be the same boy… because you say he lacks imagination, yet he’s told me you’re his favorite teacher. And he must have an incredible imagination for him to think you’re his favorite teacher,” his dad replied sharp-witted.

On his upbringing in Glasgow, Rankin said: "That background very much set me up for my whole life because their approach to everything was incredibly Glaswegian, in the sense that it was punchy, nobody was put on a pedestal. It’s like the equity in Glasgow in terms of who you are and what you do, is very even. It doesn’t matter if you’re Catholic or protestant – you’re still weirdly respected.”

Podcast host Lynn Lester, who harnesses two decades' worth of experience in events at The Drum, aims to shed industry personalities in a new light. Exploring the success stories of those who have risen to global acclaim on the back of their life passions, Lester will lift the lid on the motivations, desires and drive of some of the biggest names in advertising, marketing and show business.

Opening with an interview with famed photographer Rankin the series will be available to listen to on Spotify and Apple, with future episodes featuring the likes of Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, designer Wayne Hemmingway, Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins and advertising legend Dave Trott.

The Working Class to World Class podcast launches on Monday 31 October 2022, and will be available to listen to on Spotify and Apple. For more information contact Lynn Lester at

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