“When I was younger,” said McGinley, “I was just a dumb kid doing drugs, getting fucked up and taking pictures, and now, I somehow turned my lifestyle into a profession. I don’t know how the hell that happened, but you know, I can pay my rent, so…” (NY Times 2010) Born on the 17th of October 1977 in Ramsey, New York, Ryan McGinley began his career taking pictures of his downtown friends. A day-to-day documentation of his generation’s raw, and sometimes-delirious antics skateboard, drinking, taking drugs and having sex. There was a rebellious and reckless theme to his work, which perhaps stems from his strict Catholic upbringing and his much older siblings – he was “raised by wolves”. He would often travel to Manhattan on his own, against his mother’s will, to skateboard with his friends and found him self in jail on more than one occasion. “For me the reason to go out to a party was about photography” said McGinley. Despite this he was a rising star, and at 25 his first show made him the youngest exhibitor at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and it was not long before he was honored as Young Photographer of the Year. Since then his career has been moving at a fast pace, and at 34 his highlights have included Levis advertisements, short films, the Vancouver Olympc games and the cover for Sigur Ros’ 5th album.
Much of McGinley’s work revolves around nudity, however, his photographs provide a view of the human body as an object of art and the vibrant use of warm colors and lack of focus make his pictures seem inherently honest and trustworthy, almost because of their amateurish appearance, idealistic subject matter and consistent inaccuracy.
There is an illusion of timelessness in his photos and some feel that they could have been taken In the 1970’s. In the project Irregular Regular, he exposed all his negatives to a variety of colours, making hospitable tones.
With such a strong theme of nudity throughout...