Ryan McGinley is a superstar photographer who clearly needs no introduction.
Catapulted to fame in 2003 at age 25, Ryan became the youngest photographer to get a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work is known and praised across the world as one of the most poignant celebration of youth and freedom in photography.
I first became acquainted with his work in 2008, whilst interning at XL Recordings on the release of Sigur Rós’limited edition book, Hlemmur. The band had used one of McGinley’s photo (‘Highway’) for the cover of their fifth album Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. Since then, I have been fascinated by his photographs, which are incredibly poetic, hopeful, and slightly euphoric.
I recently found a great description of McGinley’s work in a 2007 New York Magazine article on artist Dash Snow (read here
), which stated that “People fall in love with McGinleyʼs work because it tells a story about liberation and hedonism: Where Goldin and Larry Clark were saying something painful and anxiety producing about Kids and what happens when they take drugs and have sex in an ungoverned urban underworld, McGinley started out announcing that “The Kids Are Alright,” fantastic, really, and suggested that a gleeful, unfettered subculture was just around the corner—’still’—if only you knew where to look.”
Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency had a huge impact on McGinley. He once said “I could relate to it so much - it was about New York, it was about downtown, it was about a bohemian lifestyle and it fel very close to home”. He also drew inspiration from Terrence Malick’s masterpiece: Days of Heaven.
It was quite difficult to choose just ten of his photographs for this post. Luckily he just released his first retrospective monograph entitled You & I.
Also - for those wondering - McGinley shoots 35mm film and makes his photographs using Yashica T4s and Leica R8s.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts makings movies soon… Though when photographer
Ron Schuman asked him about his plans for the future, McGinley replied “I think that my ideas will start to change as I do. I’d still like to make a movie, but I don’t think I’m ready just yet. My master plan is to do two more years of these road-trips with some smaller projects in between, and then I’ll start to focus on film. I had a long discussion with Gus Van Sant about making movies the other day, and he said, ‘You gotta do it. Just start looking at the stuff you’ve already done, and instead of having a camera that makes photographs, have a camera that makes films.’ I always film everything anyway, especially photo-shoots, so I think I’ll start by editing that footage and then take it from there.”
is the full interview)