The following is a transcript of article published in Telegraph & Argus August 14th 2004
The fairies return!
Top Class photographer is inspired to re-visit the legend that fooled the world.
They caused controversy and wonder in equal measure for nearly a century until they were finally revealed as fakes created by two school girls who fooled the world. Now the Cottingley Fairies pictures have been given a modern look by a photographer aiming to promote 21st century technology.
IAN BRIGGS reports
One of Britain's leading fashion photographers has turned his lens from supermodels like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell to re-create perhaps the greatest fake of all time.
It was 1917 when an unassuming terrace house in Cottingley spawned the myth of the Cottingley Fairies.
Cottingley Beck was the location, at the bottom of the garden behind the house in Main Street, where Elsie Wright, 16, and her ten-year-old cousin Frances Griffiths faked photographs of fairies dancing in 1917.
The pictures were so convincing that even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, thought they were real.
Only many decades later did they admit that the photographs were faked and involved cut-out drawings of fairy figures that were fastened to foliage with hatpins.
Now 87 years on London photographer Rankin has released his version of the Cottingley fairy photographs.
But instead of being taken on a box brownie, a very simple camera, Rankin has used the very latest equipment for the snaps.
The six enchanting photographs are being used by Nokia in a package to promote the company's latest imaging phone, the megapixel Nokia 7610. Rankin used the camera handset to craft the photos, which were inspired by the legendary Cottingley fairy photographs. The photographer used the phone to shoot location ideas, record flashes of inspiration and catalogue each step of the project. But he declined to return to the 70ft rear garden, leading to the waterfalls where the photographs were taken, although he said he had been tempted
Deciding the original area was now too built-up to capture the feel of the original images, Rankin decided to set the photographs at a spot near Windermere in the Lake District where he used to go as a child. He said: 'I've always been captivated by the Cottingley fairy photographs and have harboured a secret ambition to give them a modern day re-working. 'I draw inspiration for my work from the environment around me and being able to capture my ideas, and using the Nokia 7610, is priceless.
"It also allows me to instantly share my ideas with the rest of the team."
The result of Rankin's recreation is six photographs of what look like, at first glance, small fairies, naked except for wings and posing on different types of foliage.
He was given the choice of subject by Nokia and decided on the re-creation of the Cottingley Fairies because he said his son was into them and he decided to try to achieve a more realistic interpretation of them. Although the new phone helped Rankin evolve the project, it has taken much more than that to bring them into the present day The female models were photographed in the studio, then a colleague drew the wings which were put on to the models photographically.
Next, the winged women were printed out on paper only two-inches tall - a realistic size for fairies according to Rankin - and then he went into the Lake District woods and shot the fairies against a backdrop of trees and leaves.
Finally everyone came back to the studio where the first prints were retouched to look as though I the models were actually in the forest, but with a surreal feel. The Cottingley fairy story has gained worldwide fame over the years and in 1998 spawned the movie Fairytale: A True Story, starring Mel Gibson.
In April 1998 Geoffrey Crawley, a Southend collector who owned the photos and the cameras used in the famous shots, refused to sell them for more than £20,000 to Mr Gibson because he had already agreed to sell them to a Telegraph & Argus-backed appeal.
The appeal was launched in conjunction with Amateur Photographer magazine. They went on display at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford for visitors to enjoy