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Council shells out £17,000 for celebrity photographer

PUBLISHED: 18:00 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:12 05 October 2010

THE BILL for hiring celebrity photographer Rankin to take portraits of four local heroes cost council tax payers £17,895. The internationally renowned fashion photographer was hired to take photos for the Tower Hamlets Together campaign and features fou

THE BILL for hiring celebrity photographer Rankin to take portraits of four local heroes cost council tax payers £17,895.

The internationally renowned fashion photographer was hired to take photos for the Tower Hamlets Together campaign and features four people, Frank Whipple who at 101 is the primary career for his daughter, Poplar community worker Crissy Townsend, youth worker Shazid Miah and the young mayor Uma Akther.

Rankin was hired to take the shots for £17,895 plus VAT, covering the two days of shooting and design studio time, lighting and support crew, studio fees, stylist and make up, accessories, travel, refreshments and expenses.

A Tower Hamlets council spokeswoman said the council had managed to 'significantly reduce' Rankin's fees.

The overall costs of the council's media campaign was £140,000.

Liberal Democrat leader Stephanie Eaton said: "While it's a great to highlight the contribution of local residents it is not necessary to spend this type of cash on a celebrity photographer. Tower Hamlets has fantastic local photographers and many art and design students who would have loved the chance to have their work on the sides of London buses. It's a missed opportunity to support local artists.

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