Scots photographer Rankin: Why I worry about the selfie

Photographer Rankin has expressed concerns about the craze for selfies - saying it reflects a 'huge wave of narcissism'.

Rankin says he has mixed feelings about the rise of the selfie
Rankin says he has mixed feelings about the rise of the selfie

Rankin, who has snapped some of the world’s most famous faces, from Kate Moss to the Queen, said that “a part of me loves” the accessibility of photography, thanks to camera phones.

But the Paisley-born photographer, who is urging people to capture moments in daily life to raise funds for Children In Need, said he had mixed feelings about the selfie.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“More people are using, talking about and appreciating photography than ever before,” he said.

“If you told me 20 years ago that everyone would be walking around with a high-res camera in their pocket, I’d have laughed.”

But he added: “The other part of me worries about it. The selfie has been part of this huge wave of narcissism, which we’re all guilty of. The ‘we’ has become the ‘I’. “

Rankin wants people to photograph “a snapshot of British society as it is today” for a book to raise money for BBC Children In Need.

And he added of the project: “I just hope This Is Britain can do its bit to address that.”

Rankin will select the “most engaging pictures” submitted by people for the book, also containing images by leading photographers and photojournalists.

He said: “Holding a mirror up to ourselves at a pivotal moment in our history - This Is Britain will provide an honest yet inspirational visual answer to the burning question, ‘Who are we?’.

“It will be a celebration of the extraordinary spectrum of colours and characters that make up our multicultural society - as well as the central commonality of identity and humanity that binds us together as a country.”

He added: “I’d love the images to be positive. I’d love them to be a cross-section of our society and people and cultures and beliefs. I’d love them to put a smile on my face. We live in funny, testing times so I’m basically asking them to reaffirm my faith in humanity.”

People are invited to snap images, from a choice of 14 categories, from Friday October 20 to Sunday October 22.

:: The coffee table book will be published by Photobox on November 17 with all profits donated to BBC Children In Need.