Next Tuesday evening I will be meeting one of my all time photographic hero's Joe McNally.
I can't quite explain how excited I am by this, besides learning much of the more interesting photographic techniques from Joe's entertaining tutorials and marveling at his simplistic approach to photography I have always been inspired by what amounts to a lifetime of massively innovative photographic experience. From war correspondent to ballet, from the documentation of misery, to the imagination, inspiration and nurturing of dreams .
For me photography is a lifelong pursuit, always advancing, always adding skills to the toolbox without end. The one thing I've undoubtedly noticed is that every shoot is different and unique. While you can employ certain skills to certain situations you will always need to be on your toes to what any specific brief requires or ultimately needs.
Joe's reputation is now assured beyond question, one of the top photographers, on top of his game, loyal, creative, innovative, brave, uncompromising. Contributor and regular in Time, Life, National Geographic, he's done it all...with speedlights!!...the list goes on and on...far beyond what I have space for here!!
Joe is the ultimate photographic antihero for me, even if this is largely unintentional, never one to mince his words regarding many large entities within the photographic establishment but always going about his business respectfully crafting and creating amazing content from even the most basic equipment proving that even fashion photography doesn't have to jump on the elitist bandwagon.
Let's face it, Joe has been as successful in shooting fashion, industrial, Dance, Editorial or whatever else, as he originally was for shooting his original work as a war correspondent.
A true "Generalist Photographer", An extremely rare but ultimately successful breed, on every level.
And one of the few with an inherent passionate understanding of light and beauty.
I will be truly and modestly honoured to meet him and will always be proud to be able to say that I met the one and only Joe McNally.
It was absolutely fantastic meeting Joe last night and hearing about his amazing career and all the stories behind many of his famous shots. There were so many landmark shots in his career, The first ever cover of National Geographic shot on Digital, The very last cover of Time Magazine, many of them completely unknown at the time. I'm beginning to think he should be known as the "Forrest Gump" of photography. It seems for the most part that when something momentous is happening, you can pretty much count on Joe to have covered it!. Joe for the most part seems quite a quiet guy, and at times seems uncomfortable and genuinely surprised with the "Famous Photographer" mantle that has slowly, surely but justifiably wrapped itself around him over time. He has a great sense of humour, a can do attitude and a tenacity unmatched by many. But then you need that in this game. He is a modest unpretentious man in a position where so many would be irritatingly self obsessed.
I for one will always remember him fondly and was very glad to meet him, With the digital era upon us now, and the largely faceless aspect that comes with it, coupled with the demise of the major magazines. I think it's unlikely that we'll ever see the likes of his kind again. He represents everything to me about hanging tough in the toughest of industries, while maintaining grace under pressure while doing so. He's kept his individuality and integrity while photographing both the beauty and the brutal ugliness in this world.
I managed to get him to take a snap and so can now say with pride that I am one of the very few people that has ever been shot by Joe McNally,....on a smartphone!!