Fishlove: Rankin Tests A Conceit

Greta Scacchi and Mark Foster show the fishlove. Image: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images Europe.

PETA set the precedent for celebrity nudity promoting a cause with their “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign”.

It’s continuing success is down to a canny exploitation of human being’s indefatigable desire to see things they shouldn’t (celebrities naked), which in turn draws them to a cause they might not otherwise care about (animal welfare).

Warning: images over the jump contain human and piscine nudity.

Richard E Grant. No longer threatened by a dead fish, apparently. Images: Rankin via socialphy.

But would our charity fatigued minds be as beguiled if the body wasn’t quite as stereotypically beautiful, and the animal whose welfare was at stake wasn’t a furry ball of cute? Esteemed British photographer Rankin’s latest exhibition, Fishlove, which opened for a private viewing last week, will give us the opportunity to find out.

Fishlove aims to raise awareness of overfishing that will, if it continues at the current rate, apparently result in the extinction of most marine life by the middle of the 21st century. It’s a serious topic, and one worthy of wider attention, although it has to be said that the creatures in question suffer from a major first world PR problem – they’re not particularly photogenic.

Rankin is challenging the furry = good, scaly = stamp it to death conceit by placing the fish front and centre of his collection – literally lounging about on the naked forms of Greta Scacci, Richard E Grant and Emilia Fox. It’s an arresting sight and one certain to provoke comment, which is half the battle in awareness campaigns.

Whether it will prove as effective in the long war – persuading the masses to lay off the fishfingers for ten minutes -remains to be seen.

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