Giving the finger, flipping the bird, up yours! For hundreds of years the middle finger (or two if you’re from Great Britain) has been the wordless insult of choice for people the world over, regardless of what phraseology you choose to accompany it. And it’s this age-old sign that Rankin has chosen to focus on in his latest book, F*ck Y*u.
Known for his tongue-in-cheek humor, Rankin is used to the odd insult, and has been goading celebrities into giving him the finger for years. But it was a particular shot he had taken of Heidi Klum flipping the bird, published in a book, then ripped off by enterprising T-Shirt manufacturers that made this image iconic and planted the seed for what was later to become F*ck Y*u. Rankin recalls; “The first time I saw someone wearing the t-shirt was when I was dropping my son off at school. The crazy point for me was going on holiday to Thailand, it felt like every other person was wearing one of my photos of Heidi giving me the finger!”
On the advice of his French gallerist Arnaud Adida, Rankin has delved into his archives to bring these uniquely profane images to the fore, creating a series of portraits featuring subjects as diverse as; Eva Green, Damian Lewis, Cheryl, Katy Perry, Robert Downey Jr., Gillian Anderson, Diana Athill, Juno Temple, Nicholas Hoult, The Rolling Stones, Harmony Korine, Terence Conran & Paolo Nutini all flipping the bird left, right and centre. But it’s not just photographic insults; the book also examines the visual language of profanity and the historical context of this impolite gesture, with comment from writers that are all too familiar with it. Here, a look at some of the images in his latest publication.
F*ck Y*u is distributed exclusively in store and online by Urban Outfitters.