I know where the summer goes

Ryan McGinley came up in conversation today. I have to say I don't see what all the fuss is about. Generally, I can't see what is so special about his photographs.

I think people get blinded by the myth; 4000 rolls of film, naked models, a summer long road trip across the USA... In my opinion, if someone gave me 16 models, 4000 rolls of film, a full tank of petrol and a whole summer to shoot I hope my photographs would be a lot more interesting than the selection currently on show at the much hyped Team Gallery exhibition.

Don't get me wrong, there's a couple I liked - the two above for example, both of which I think are great - but looking at the selection for the show then I thought that if this is the best of 140000 shots (assuming that he shot 4000 rolls of 36 that is!) either he's a really bad editor or the rest are truly worse. I know which one worries me more.

Of course, I am happy for his success, especially as his style is not the overly lit, pin sharp, heavily retouched nonsense that is everywhere in commercial photography but I can't shake the 'flavour of the month' feeling when I hear people praising his work. Considering the hype, I guess I just expect more.

On his blog >Re: PHOTO Peter Marshall has written a post on McGinley, the majority of which I wholeheartedly agree with.


Alice Dison said...

Thanks for this. It is interesting, I want to dislike his work, cause of all the bullshit that seems to be attached to it, but I have to admit I am visually drawn to it. There is something about it. I like the article that was posted on that other blog about it, and I agree, I think I would really love it if I hadn't known that the models were hired and that there was this pretentious idea of what the outcome was going to be. But I will still look, I know, Im a hypocrite.

Tom White said...

Hi Alice - I don't think it's hypocritical. As I say, I think he can take a good photo, but there aren't 50 good photos in the show and what with the process and the concept and the hype I think it falls far short of the praise it's been getting.

Generally I want more people to look at work and critically assess it rather than blindly follow the press release or say "Oh it's xxxxx's work so it must be good", which is an attitude I think this exhibition has fallen foul of.

Alice Dison said...

I understand and agree