News: Kelly's photo shoot

Having been crowned Britain's Missing Top Model, it's time for Kelly Knox's session with top British photographer, Rankin ...

Tuesday 5
August, 2008

Image of Kelly Knox by top British photographer, Rankin, courtesy of Marie Claire magazine

It's one week since Kelly Knox won the competition, and although she's back at home with her mum in Enfield, north London, she's about to be thrust back into the world of modelling as she takes up her prize - a shoot with the renowned photographer Rankin, the results of which will appear in top fashion magazine, Marie Claire. So she's understandably nervous, telling herself that "the pressure is on". Can she prove to the industry that she has what it takes to be a professional model?

Images from Kelly Knox's photo shoot with Rankin appear in Marie Claire magazine

Rankin himself has photographed everybody - models, pop stars and celebrities, from Kate Moss to the Gallagher brothers, from Tony Blair to the Queen. For the girls' mentor, Jonathan Phang - who is proudly watching all the events of the day unfold - a photo shoot with Rankin is "about the best start a model could get", and getting this particular photographer's valuable approval could make her career.

However, Rankin freely admits that his experiences with disability is lacking: "It's a great challenge for me to be able to take photographs of someone who has a disability. It's not a big thing to do, but within the fashion world it is quite a big step". Yet he's already decided that, unlike some of the photographers who have worked with the girls earlier in the series, he will certainly not be hiding Kelly Knox's impairment: "I like people to not be perfect. So for her to have this unique quality, for me it's something that I want to show in the image. I don't want to hide it. I want to get it out there and show it - in my way. I find it attractive, and I want to put it in the picture. I think it's really beautiful."

Rankin with Kelly Knox

He's certainly as good as his word about finding Kelly's disability attractive, because later in the shoot he asks the winning contestant if he can touch her left arm, and she agrees. Later, Rankin says: "It felt sexy, in a weird way. Maybe I'm just strange and like that sort of thing. It's quite soft. I expected it to be hard, so it was quite a surprise. It's quite squidgy."

At the end of the session, Rankin is clearly impressed with Kelly's skills in front of the camera. But the big question is: does he think she has a modelling career ahead of her? "It is very debilitating, having one arm, as a model. So it's always going to be a USP for her. If I'm honest with you, I don't think the fashion industry will accept her disability. I think she'll find it really hard, and an uphill struggle. However, what she should do is use everything she's got going for her - including her disability - to make it work for her."

Watch Kelly's behind the scenes film of the photo shoot

Marie Claire: slideshow of Kelly Knox's photos

What do you think? What did you think of Kelly's photo shoot? And do you think Rankin is right about the fashion industry's acceptance of a disabled model? Tell us on our messageboard!

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