Monday November 4th, 2013
by Sean Stone
I’ve had the opportunity to consult with many skilled photographers over the years, but when Joe McNally‘s studio manager contacted me about working on their print portfolio, I was both excited and flattered. For 30 years, Joe has been busily shooting for LIFE, National Geographic, and dozens of other well-respected publications. His commercial clients include FedEx, Nikon, and GE, just to name a few. When he’s not shooting, Joe teaches workshops around the world, and has been known to write an occasional book. With all that on his plate, he hadn’t been getting out for a lot of meetings, and had not updated his portfolio in some time.
Lynn, Joe’s marvelous studio manager, contacted me in April to get the process started. She and the rest of Joe’s staff played a major role in the process; I gave them the task of editing Joe’s enormous library to a scant 600 photos. They supplied me with a broad cross-section of work from the past few years— everything from portraits of Muppets and ballerinas on board nuclear submarines, to a maintenance man dangling from the top of the world’s tallest skyscraper. Lynn described Joe as one of the few generalists still succeeding in New York, and looking at these images, I saw what she meant. My challenge would be not only selecting his best work, but creating an organization that showed his varied abilities in a way that was compact and coherent.
Mississippi Bluesmen, elephants in the circus, FedEx at work around the world, stealth planes on an aircraft carrier, and Kermit the Frog. I knew that it wasn’t all going to fit. Too often I’ve picked up a portfolio from a great photographer, and ended up skipping 5-10 pages at a time to get through a tome of great photographs. Lynn and I agreed that I would be merciless in my edit, keep it short and sweet, and when they were ready to start editing a monograph, I would be available for that too. I tried not to let the dizzying variety phase me, did my initial edit, made my prints, and started categorizing. Once I had grouped the work together, I started narrowing down by specialty, and asking myself, “what can logically fit into one book, and what is most important to include?” When editing a book, it is even more important than a website that it be targeted. A website may be able to accommodate a lot of variety, but if I selected one image from all of Joe’s specialties, the presentation would be a mess.
What I came up with was a breezy edit which included studio and environmental portraiture, dance, sports, industrial and aviation. It covers a lot of ground, but is thoughtfully sequenced and uses images that transition smoothly from one set to the next. What I wanted to highlight was Joe’s style of lighting, and his incredible experience. As Lynn put it “there are hundreds of photographers in New York who can shoot a beautiful portrait, but how many can work comfortably on a submarine or aircraft carrier?” Or dangling from the Burj Khalifa, or photographing triathletes from the ocean floor?
Everyone at the studio was very pleased with the edit, and they are now in the process of producing the printed versions.
For more of Joe’s work, hop over to his website. If you’re looking for help with your portfolio, design, website, marketing or want to learn more about our services, please visit the consulting section of our blog.
Wednesday September 11th, 2013
By Karrisa Olsen
On the 12th anniversary of September 11, 2001, it remains undeniably difficult to find words that encapsulate such a delicate day in history. The reality of the shock, sadness and devastation don’t seem fade no matter how much time passes. Perhaps it’s appropriate to think of “9/11″ as a time period, rather than a single date.
Photographer Joe McNally immersed himself in the aftermath, using the world’s only life-size Polaroid camera to create stunning 9×4 portraits that makeup the “Faces of Ground Zero” project. The portraits have been displayed in exhibitions around New York City and various countries around the world. Over 55,000 copies of the published book have been sold, raising over two million dollars in relief efforts.
Here’s to every individual hero, the ones who lost their lives, and the ones who lived to tell the story.
View the full series of photographs along with video interviews with the subjects.
A podcast featuring Joe is also available on the 9/11 Memorial website for further interest.
Tuesday July 16th, 2013
by Maria Luci
Recently, Wonderful Machine members Joe McNally and Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert were selected to take part in Vision Beijing—an annual photography event “with the aim of recording the beauty and development of the capital through foreign lenses.” This unique foreign assignment had Joe, Jeremy and forty-eight other photographers from twenty-nine countries around the globe documenting the arts, culture, heritage and architecture of Beijing. To learn more, I got in touch with both Joe and Jeremy about their time in China’s capital…
The following is from Joe, and recounts a bit of his experience with this year’s Vision Beijing:
Beijing is one of my favorite cities. I have now participated in Vision Beijing every other year for the last six years, and it’s an assignment I look forward to. The group of international photographers assembled for the event shoot for BTM, or Beijing This Month, which now, despite its name, comes out once a week. The Chinese are wonderfully blasé about details such as this, which is quite an enjoyable attitude to be a part of.
The shoots themselves are quite varied, and constitute the making of a giant postcard, or love note, to the city and its people. This is not hard to do, as it remains a resolutely visual place, and I have always received a wonderful welcome there. My assignments over the years have ranged from wandering around, to dance, to architecture, to restaurants. This time, it was fashion, and not just casual, “What are people wearing?” fashion. I had the wonderful task of working with a group of preeminent Chinese designers, and selecting some of their most stylish creations. I then matched them with some incomparably beautiful models, and put the entire ensemble in front of, or inside of, a major, iconic Chinese structure or monument.
This would be hard to do without the backing of some measure of officialdom in the city. Complications abound, but BTM, at least this time around, handled those quite well, and got us access to, for instance, the Temple of Heaven, two hours prior to the opening of the doors to the public. What a wonderful couple of hours! To be at this incredible piece of Chinese history, all by ourselves.
Now, when I say all by ourselves, I don’t mean just me, an assistant and a camera. When we went to the Great Wall, for instance, we went up there with an entourage of about forty-five people. And I was directing the entire operation, and of course was the only person there who did not speak Mandarin. It was a challenge! But the gowns and models were effortlessly beautiful, and the settings were magnificent. All I had to do was choose the scene, compose and light well.
All in all, the job was a highlight so far this year. Wonderful people, terrific job, and a good set of pictures. Always happy to go to China, where I have been going since 1988, and where I find the visual potential pretty endless.
Jeremy also had a memorable time in Beijing, and was kind enough to share these thoughts and photos:
As a photographer who likes to photograph people and enjoys city life, what’s not to like when asked to go to Beijing to participate in the Vision Beijing? Last year, there were ten photographers invited; this year, the organizers showed even more ambition, in a way that perhaps only China can afford these days, in bringing fifty photographers to the city for a week of non-stop shooting and exploring.
It can be a tiring week, as the project aims to maximize the potential of having high caliber photographers in town. But aided by a car and driver, a fixer, and a five-star hotel to rest one’s weary head, the schedule is manageable. From the caves where Peking Man was discovered, to temples, flea markets, violin factories and the huge Xinghai piano factory, I explored the city, aided by my young, bright-eyed, and ever-smiling Chinese assistant. Each meal was an adventure not to be taken lightly, and each day was one of those assignments where you pinch yourself. It reminded me that being a photographer is still a great job.
The main factory floor of the Beijing Xinghai Piano Group Ltd. – Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert
It’s always an education being in a foreign city. You learn of the history and see the contemporary issues. I got to talk all week with young Chinese as I worked and learned how they live their lives. Of course, you’ll never see all aspects of the city, and there are many aspects of life in China that demand attention, but this job was not about those. Perhaps the next job may be, or I can go back on my own travels to photograph those issues, but for now, I was shooting for Beijing.
View more at joemcnally.com and jeremysuttonhibbert.com.
Friday March 22nd, 2013
Brand paternity test.
Who knew Hustler owned a mustard company? Photo by Jeremy Deputat
“Women are objects.”
Gasoline coated negatives for a clean water series.
How to win your NCAA bracket? Choose cool alumni.
This year’s big ticket rivalry is Cheech for Harvard and Chong for Princeton. Photo by Bryan Meltz
Coca-Cola finds no sales lift from online chatter.
Free desk here.
Worst plastic surgery ads.
Finally have the confidence to remove the bucket. Photo by Andy Reynolds
Cross-dressing throughout history.
Who pays photographers?
- Maria Luci