Friday, October 5, 2012

Joseph Tidline reviews Ryan McGinley

Ryan McGinley is a photographer who takes "snapshots" of young people having sex and doing drugs, and generally running around nude. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find photos of clothed people in any of this photographer's series. If there is one I like more than nudity and debauchery, that one thing would have be flair, which McGinley has plenty of.

McGinley's latest series, "Animals," consists of McGinley’s color portraits of live animals with nude models. The work errs on the side of grotesque beauty and explores our relationship each of the earth's many creatures. Sometimes the photographs focus on weight and form such as the above. Others, including one of a woman with a porcupine covering her inner thighs explore a more textural approach to the human form. The quills could serve as a metaphor for female nudity and how it is viewed outside the world of galleries and ivory towers.

McGinley's early work was more documentary, exploring the lives of his friends in New York City, a drug induced, hipster affair akin to something one might see in an MGMT music video (only with nudity). He published two books these works: "You and I" and "Whistle For the Wind."

Some criticisms of McGinley definitely ones that we have talked about many times such as the advent of Instagram and it effects on the world of photography. McGinley shoots with digital for his studio shots but typically carries a Leica R8 SLR uses Kodak Portra, yet his work has an Instagram esque quality and the youthful abandon of his subjects also adds to this effect. There are also claims that McGinley's personal life affects the way he shoots men versus women. Larry Clark has also been criticized in this same manner: indulging in the nudity of the youth rather than artistic concept of nude photography. I disagree with some of those criticisms (mostly because I really like their stuff and they are influences on me), but I definitely think that evidence supporting those claims exists. Is that a bad thing? In my opinion, no. 

Next Week's Blog: "Why I think Facebook Photos of Shirtless People in Their Bathrooms Should be Hung in the Guggenheim"

Just kidding. Maybe.

1 comment:

  1. I just saw the picture of the young male with the animal. I fell in love.