An unconventional beauty of a book: Marco Antonio x Rankin

Delve into the provocative imagery of the photographer/make-up artist duo

Touch of Red, HungerTV, 2018. Model: Annabella Michlova
Touch of Red, HungerTV, 2018. Model: Annabella Michlova | Image: Rankin Photography Ltd

The model’s eyes are heavily enveloped in blue eyeshadow, there are tears on her cheeks yet her smile is full of joy. The image is by British fashion photographer Rankin, whose depictions of the likes of Kate Moss and the Queen have defined the modern age; the make-up is by another high-ticket name: Marco Antonio. The photograph is also included in a glossy new coffee-table tomeMarco Antonio x Rankin (£40), dedicated to the duo’s ongoing collaboration.

Marco Antonio + Rankin, 2018
Marco Antonio + Rankin, 2018 | Image: Rankin Photography Ltd
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Marco Antonio x Rankin, Rankin Photography Ltd, 2019. Published October 30, £40. Model: Jiahe Zhang.
Marco Antonio x Rankin, Rankin Photography Ltd, 2019. Published October 30, £40. Model: Jiahe Zhang. | Image: Rankin Photography Ltd

“I knew it would be a hardcore experience working with Rankin,” says Antonio, “but I love being challenged.” The results are spread over 104 large-format pages, wherein the face becomes a canvas – with striking, sometimes slightly shocking, results. A hyper-real close-up of rouged lips reveals, on second glance, teeth replaced by synthetic nails; a butterfly emerges from the mouth of a shadowy face; heavily painted faces are smeared and smudged by clingfilm, or artistically cast as a Modigliani painting. Chapters include Life’s a Mesh, with glossy lips trapped behind net; Spoil Yourself, a humorous take on beauty treatments; and Eye Candy, not for those with ommatophobia, but beautiful all the same. There’s also a discussion between the artists about where make-up and beauty sit in today’s visual culture.

Cry Baby, Hunger, Issue 8, 2015. Model: Leomie Anderson
Cry Baby, Hunger, Issue 8, 2015. Model: Leomie Anderson | Image: Rankin Photography Ltd
Plastic Rainbow-Tastic, HungerTV, 2018. Model: Fifi Anicah
Plastic Rainbow-Tastic, HungerTV, 2018. Model: Fifi Anicah | Image: Rankin Photography Ltd
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