Rankin was raised in St. Albans in the county of Hertfordshire in England. He studied accounting at the Brighton Polytechnic Institute, but he dropped out to study photography at the London College of Printing; Rankin graduated from the latter school. During his studies, he met and befriended Jefferson Hack (Uruguayan, b.1971), and the two men decided to found a magazine called Dazed & Confused after graduation. The name Dazed was extended into television in 1999, when both Rankin and Hack founded a production company. Rankin has extended his magazine collection with the launching of RANK, Another Magazine, Another Man, and his most recent, HUNGER. Rankin is a portrait and fashion photographer and has shot the Spice Girls, Kate Moss, Madonna, Juliette Binoche, Kevin Spacey, Vivienne Westwood, Queen Elizabeth II, and Britney Spears. His subjects are quite varied, and the publicity campaigns he has shot are even more so; he has worked on campaigns for Rimmel, Nike, Dove, H&M, BMW, and Coca Cola.
Stills from cover editorial for Lampoon Magazine