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Fashion Spy meets... Rankin

"You'll never learn everything." photographer Rankin said, at the launch of the Retina Scottish International Photography Festival in Edinburgh.

"You have to be inquisitive and use your personal experiences to fuel your work,"Rankin told me when asked for his best advice.

"Networking is really important but most people don't fully understand what that means. Even when you get to where I am it's still a game and there's lots of politics in the fashion industry. Some people will help you and some will stab in you in the back. Just follow your own path. My mum told me that if you do something you love you'll always be happy."

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Rankin spoke at the launch of his new 'Portraits of Men' exhibition, curated as part of the third Edinburgh International Fashion Festival (EIFF) that returned to the city last week. His images are presented alongside the work of model and photographer Helena Christensen who showcased 'A Private Moment' - a series of portraits of inspirational women published by Rika magazine. The exhibition features photographs of iconic celebrities including Damien Lewis, Ralph Fiennes and Tinie Tempah by Rankin and Julianne Moore, Liv Tyler and Dree Hemingway by Christensen.

"I still absolutely love taking photos," Rankin said. "People are the most inspiring thing for me. I love that I'm completely independent so can work on projects based on what I'm really interested in. I also try to support new talent wherever I can, even when I was a new photographer myself I tried to support those around me."He added "there's a few minor things I don't like about my job like endless meetings and too much discussion around how a picture should look."

Rankin described himself as a "massive fan" of Christensen's work. "We worked together on a shoot a while ago and she captured the best photograph that's ever been taken of me. Helena has been shot by the best photographers in the world but has managed to develop her own style. She has an amazing eye for photography."

"All of these women mean something to me on a personal level," Helena Christensen said of her own portrait series. "I was so curious about their lives, their thoughts, everything about them. Each of these women were creating art in some form. I left every portrait session feeling more creative - I wanted to be a painter or a writer or make a record because I was so inspired by them."

The Retina Scottish International Photography Festival runs until July 25 at Assembly Rooms: The Ballroom in Edinburgh. For more information, click here.

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