Rankin's latest exhibition is packed with celeb faces and fabulous jewellery

Renowned fashion photographer Rankin has said his latest exhibition of celebrity portraits marks his progression into becoming “older, a bit wiser, and in need of some work”.

The Light Up The Room collection, for the Southbank Centre, marks his return to the Royal Festival Hall, the venue for his first exhibition nearly 30 years ago.

The 50-year-old, full name John Rankin Wadell, said: “Looking back, it was a pretty pivotal moment – the first time I could really think to myself that I could make a go of photography.

“Any chance to support it, as it supported me, draws me like a moth to light.

“I guess we’ve all changed over the years. Older, a bit wiser, in need of some work.”

He described the photography session with stars such as Joanna Lumley, Grayson and Philippa Perry, Marc Almond and Gemma Cairney as “a loud and raucous shoot, full of laughter”.

He added: “In a snapshot, it gave us a full cross-section of the arts and showed why they’re so important and varied – and why the Southbank Centre stands tall as such an important HQ to us all.”

The portraits will feature jewellery from British designers such as Tatty Devine and Wolf & Moon, which will be sold to raise funds to refurbish the centre’s Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Actress, activist and former governor of the Southbank Centre, Joanna, 70, said: “This project drew me like a magnet.

“The jewellery aspect, as I am like a magpie with gorgeous things and the necklace I wear is adorable.

“My respect and affection for Southbank Centre knows no bounds.

“Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery have long cried out for our care and attention, and this is our chance to show how central to the lives of all of Londoners and visitors are the great stars of music and art.”

Musician Marc added: “It was wonderful to do the photo session with Rankin, and the ring I wore was inspired by the Hayward.

“It’s been a great thing to be a part of as I’ve performed at Southbank Centre many times.”

Developed in the 1960s, the buildings are a key example of brutalism architecture and, according to Rankin, they are now getting a “well-deserved makeover.”

The centre’s artistic director, Jude Kelly CBE, said: “We care deeply about preserving the beauty and architectural brio of our 1960s buildings.

“We wanted to create something truly special to celebrate them and Rankin, as one of our most important and compelling cultural photographers, is the perfect artist to help us realise this vision.

“His series of portraits will help us let the light back in to our unique buildings and see them live on for many future generations to come.”

Commissioned by the centre’s Let The Light In campaign, the special pop-up exhibition will be open for two weeks between December 8 and 23.

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