Community centre users snapped by top photographer Rankin

'I’m much more photogenic after a beer'

Friday, 1st October 2021 — By Harry Taylor

Untitled (29.7 x 21 cm) (9)

Rankin at work

MEMBERS of a Camden community centre were striking a pose for one of the UK’s best-known photographers last week.

Older service-users of sessions at Queen’s Crescent Community Association (QCCA) were snapped by Rankin at his studio in Grafton Road.

His studio has been in Kentish Town for more than a decade, with him living above it until a move to Hampstead earlier this year.

The dozen or so who filed in either go to gym and exercise classes at QCCA, or leisure activities including lunches and day trips.

Adam Jama and Cleophas Beckles

One, Colvia Johnson, was captured winking at the camera.

He told the New Journal that it reminded him of spending time in Coventry as a young man after moving from Jamaica.

“I’m much more photogenic after a beer!,” he said.

“It’s been fun. I had my photo in a shop there, a friend’s shop in the late 1970s, and everywhere I go in Coventry I had people saying ‘it’s him, it’s him from the window!’

“I like it very much, what QCCA does and going there, mixing with the people and talking to people, it’s really good.”

Colvia Stanford Johnson and Elena Sas

Golalai Jalalzadeh and Hanifa Omary

Also sitting in front of the camera was Peter Long, who lives in the Greenwood Centre, who had a photo taken with a Santa hat on and Christmas-themed glasses.

“I like the Christmas one, they’re going to email it to me and I might get some printed and put them on Christmas cards,” he said.

Mary Pierce, older people’s service co-ordinator at QCCA who was also one of those posing, said: “He [Rankin] has really captured the essence of them so well.

“I felt really relaxed, and he’s good at trying different things.

Margo O’Neil and Peter Long

“It’s wonderful and they were delighted to come down. The service we offer is so important, especially with people who are isolated or living on their own and helping with that loneliness. It’s great that Rankin has recognised this and welcomed us in.”

Rankin said after decades of taking photos, including of the Queen, David Bowie and Kate Moss, he is usually able to read people quickly enabling him to capture their personality with his lens.

“It’s just reading people’s body language and human nature, I can pick up what people are like quite quickly,” he said.

“They’re all excited to be here, and it’s about having a sense of them.”

Related Articles