Fishlove – Rankin
There is something just so wrong somewhere in that title – Fishlove. It reminds, not only of unmentionable things, but also of that unknowingly hilarious quote from George Bush: “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”
This series of photographs shows naked celebrities coexisting peacefully with strategically placed fish. Of course, the whole idea is to make you look twice, and to get the message of the underlying campaign. Overfishing is a serious danger to fish stocks, and the OCEAN 2012 campaign have been working to change EU policy to save species in danger through overuse.
The ironies are partly the point. To promote sustainable fishing, remove endangered species of fish from water, thus presumably killing them, and then have celebrities cuddle them while naked. It kind of works in a playful way. Greta Scacchi, Ben Kinsley, Jerry Hall and Mark Foster are among those who have backed the conservation movement and gamely bared almost all in the cause of the fish.
Rankin is a photographer at home in the world of magazines and advertising. Some people are real fans of everything Rankin – perhaps Rankinites? He gets involved in many charity campaigns such as this, and must certainly be very persuasive to get folk to get their kit off and pose with fish. The photos are smaller and more intimate than expected, and in black and white sit well upon the dark brown walls of the Pertwee Anderson & Gold gallery, which looks like an 18th century drawing room.
The surprise is that Rankin has caught a genuinely warm moment from each subject, rather than the cold repulsion one could imagine. It was obviously fun in the studio, although the fish don’t seem to be smiling.
And now the puns. The photographs are smaller scaled than expected; the comments book is fishing for compliments and the images try to hook you in. I’m just floundering now, so I’ll stop carping on.
Photos of the exhibition: Lucy Millson-Watkins
Fishlove by Rankin is at Pertwee Anderson & Gold, 25 Bateman Street, W1D 3AQ, from 26th to 31st October 2012.
For information about the OCEAN 2012 campaign, click here.