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Lee Jeffries – Portraits of the Homeless

lost angels

Lee Jeffries is a British street photographer, who resides near Manchester, England. He focuses on homeless people in England and all around the world.

lee jeffries photo

Lee‘s images were published in many prestigious magazines and newspapers like Time Magazine, The Independent, The Guardian, and were broadcasted on BBC, CNN news.

He has released two photo albums, and has participated in various projects.  Today we’ll be talking more about him, but first, here’s a quick video to get you acquainted with him.

Background

Lee Jeffries was born on May 6, 1971, in Manchester, England. He didn‘t grow up surrounded by photography or any other creative activity – actually more the opposite.

His uncle was an accountant with a nice house, car and a stable life, so that inspired Lee to choose a career as an accountant too.

Photography came into his life by accident, when he was already 35 years old.

At that time, he was owning a bicycle business and needed to take pictures of his bikes, so this was the first time he took the camera.

Street Photography – looking for “Lost Angels”

Jeffries’ relationship with street portraits began in 2008 when he took his camera and went out.

The main reason he went to shoot people out, was that he felt lonely inside and being surrounded by people helped to change that feeling.

According to him, the more relationships he created with homeless people, the less lonely he felt, so his photographing activity at some point was not giving something away, but take something back too.

lost angels

The first portrait he made was a girl in a sleeping bag on the street in London. She was only 18 years old and started to shout at Lee, so he felt embarrassed.

At that moment, he could have gone away, but he sat next to her and started to talk instead.

This new experience totally changed his life – he knew, that he will make more portraits of homeless people and create a different perspective of street photography.

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By making portraits of homeless persons, Lee wanted to dig a little bit deeper and get to know them at first, create a connection with them and maybe even help them to change their complicated situation.

In the beginning, Jeffries didn‘t know where his photography will lead, but his perspective was to go into photography with a socially responsible attitude.

One of the main reasons for Lee’s success while capturing homeless people is that he is not afraid of being surrounded by them.

According to him, if you respect a person no matter what is his social status, he will respect you back and that is a key of trust with which you can create a certain atmosphere for making a good portrait.

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He realizes that the opportunity to capture people didn‘t come for granted, you must put some effort and earn it.

This is why his portraits look so mesmerizing – you can see every wrinkle, hair and especially human’s eyes, which helps you to understand that we are all alive human beings.

Lee explains that the picture itself is a result of the bonding process with the strangers. He also opens about sensitivity for people, by saying that if his picture doesn‘t make him cry, it means it isn‘t good enough.

Live like a homeless person most of the time is influenced by a huge pain person struggles with, which a certain person doesn‘t realize, for example, a post-traumatic experience as a soldier.

Lee Jeffries released his first book “Lost Angels“ in 2013, where he put his portraits of homeless people, shot for five years.

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After 15 years of creating photographs, he thinks that photography is a journey, which doesn‘t happen immediately.

The Salvation Army project

Even photography for Jeffries is not his main activity in life, because of his unique perspective, he makes special projects too.

Next to the various auctions in which he sells his portraits and raises money for poor people, the charity organization the Swedish Salvation Army has invited Lee to create portraits for their campaign.

lee jeffries

By this campaign, they wanted to help Stockholm‘s homeless community. Lee shot ten portraits, from which the organization has chosen three and started to sell their prints of which all money went directly to the charity.

Three main pictures were very popular and were showed in the whole Sweden, so Jeffries’s idea was to create even bigger campaigns in the future for the USA or France.

Synergy

In 2016, Lee was cooperating with the French street artist Jef Aérosol – their project called “Synergy“ was exhibited in the French Art Studio in London.

During this project, Jef interpreted Lee’s pictures of his own way by painting some extra details.

“Lee Jeffries: Portraits” The Book

In 2019, Lee Jeffries released his second portraits album, which was created for ten years.

In 220 pages, the viewer could see various funny, sad, but most important – inspiring stories from Europe and the USA, illustrated by impressive author‘s pictures.

Movies

Since Lee spent a lot of time surrounded by homeless people, he filmed them too. In these videos, the viewer can see raw scenes of various people‘s daily life in the street.

Lee Jeffries is featured in our article about the top influential contemporary photographers.

Lee Jeffries official page:

https://lee-jeffries.co.uk/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/LeeJeffriesphotographer/timeline

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/lee_jeffries/

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Timothy Hogan – Commercial Photography, or When Art and Commerce Collide

timothy hogan about

Timothy Hogan is an American award-winning still life photographer and Hasselblad brand ambassador.

timothy hogan fine art photographer

He works in his photo studio named “Convyr“ in Los Angeles, USA, where he shoots for various advertising campaigns and creates exclusive photo projects.

Background

Timothy Hogan was born in Santa Monica, California. He studied photography at Syracuse University and was graduated in 1998.

After graduation, he spent 12 years in New York, but since 2011 he returned to California.

When growing up, Timothy was always curious about creating things and understand different materials, so that curiosity is still very much a part of his mindset today, which led him to do what he is doing now.  Experimentation is undeniably a very big part of his workflow.

timothy hogan

Still life photography (not so still)

Timothy’s main type of photography is to shoot still life. Since he often photographs for commercials specifically, he aims to create an attractive appearance of the brand by using a compound of light and nature elements like water or fire.

timothy hogan photo

He describes himself as an observer, who analyses various nature’s material, its conditions and shapes, thinking about how he could use them to create exclusive, but a brand-related atmosphere.

One of the most popular materials Hogan uses in his photoshoots is water. He shot various cosmetics or alcohol drink pictures by using water splashes and drops.

That looks like a powerful but also playful way at the same time to create a lively atmosphere in the picture, which makes the brand look very aesthetically attractive to the viewer.

timothy hogan photograph

Other common materials Hogan uses for his still life shots are fire and sparks. These elements add some spiciness to products like alcohol drinks or fragrances and intrigues to taste or smell them.

You can also find his product shoots surrounded by various types of smokes’ compositions. It creates a mystical appearance for the brand and smoke itself looks quite intriguing.

Timothy’s work is a great example of how to present a different type of product of combining them with simple natural materials as water, fire or smoke.

During his career as a photographer, he already created commercials for well-known brands as Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Chanel, Visa or Smirnoff.

Timothy Hogan is featured in our feature article about the most influential photographers here

Importance of colors

Most of the time Hogan works in color photography. While shooting for different kinds of brands, bright colors are important, but it is important to make them look natural too.

timothy hogan advertising photography

Even if he needs to create a picture for a colorful product, Timothy also likes to choose bright colors for the background of products, for example for various types of fragrances commercials.

By using this way, the brand looks even more expressive and colors together with the brand to create a positive and lively entirety.

Rules for the perfect shot

According to Timothy, the main components which are needed for a great picture are the perfect lighting, perfect expression, mood, and the perfect composition.

By this, he doesn’t mean that the image should fit into the popular photography’s rule – rule-of-thirds, according to which, the shooting object must be in the right place, but to analyze and think how the object could find his perfect spot and then give -interesting thought for the viewer. YeeNstudioproject-1sra9vu-1024x590

The Fin project

Timothy is a huge fan of surfing, so he created a special photo project, dedicated special to craftsmen who invented the Fin on the surfing board.

the fin project

Wide or thin and sharp, big or very small, made from wood or plastic, grey or colorful – various fins of surfing boards are captured during this project, so the viewer can see a wide range of fins, compare each other.

Also, the photographer showed his creativity and imagination by creating interesting compositions of putting multiple fins into ornaments and figures, which according to a photographer, is a very strong graphic representation.

The result of this idea is very playful and amusing, but the most important thing about this project is how the surfing community was involved and the story about the Fin itself was told to the public.

fin project surf art

This project is different from the pictures Timothy usually takes because he created images by using an only camera and no special visual effects, lights or colors added.

The Fin project is a great example of creativity, it inspires to create from everything from the first sight can look very simple, not special at all and turn into interesting compositions.

Instead of photography…

In one of his interviews, Timothy told, that instead of photography, he could imagine himself being a craftsman and build things from wood.

It looks like he fulfilled his dream by creating a wooden desk and audio speakers stand which were designed and hand-built all by himself.

You can see his creatures and even buy them by visiting his official page which you can find below.

Both things have interesting designs so let’s hope Timothy will create more things from wood in the future.


Timothy Hogan’s official page:

https://www.timothy-hogan.com/index

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/timothyhogan/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/timothyhoganstudio

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Boogie – Showing The Dark Side of Street Life

Boogie (real name Vladimir Milivojevich) is a Serbian photographer based in New York.

His homeland‘s history influenced him to choose to capture the dark side of street life in his home town Belgrade, Moscow, New York, and other places.

Here he is, pictured below.

boogie photographer

Some of his images would appear to the casual observer to be quite shocking, but by using different perspectives, Boogie mostly is showing real people who live in the periphery of society and generally what kinds of lives they lead.

He had published nine photography monographs and created commercial projects for worldwide known brands like Nike, Adidas or Puma.

Background

Boogie was born in 1969 in Belgrade, Serbia. His father and grandfather were amateur photographers, so he grew up surrounded by cameras.

He got interested more seriously into photography around the ’90s during the civil war in Serbia.

This experience pushed him to focus on the darker side of street life in different places marked by many personal tragedies and are not what one might think of as particularly popular topics in street life photography.

Vladimir Milivojevich aka Boogie (26)

In 1997, he won the green card lottery (so to speak) and moved to the USA. Since then, he has been residing in Brooklyn, New York, but also keeps traveling around the world and looking for new inspiration.

In some ways, you might think of Boogie as a journalist with a camera, as he is very much interested in documenting or chronicling a certain side of life – uncovering it or exposing it for all to see, who are willing to look.

Gangs and Drugs

Boogie‘s photography style in one word could be described as fearless.

Between 2003 and 2006 he spent a lot of time with his camera in the BedStuy, Bushwick and Queensbridge neighborhoods of NYC, which are known as dangerous spots because of actively working gangs there.

Boogie-TheHundreds

While he was spending time in those areas, he captured real, non-polished moments of a wild and unsafe street life which was fulfilled with guns, violence, drugs and other illegal and dangerous stuff.

According to Boogie, experiences he had during the civil war in Serbia helped him to adapt very fast to the gangs‘ daily life and helped to capture their daily scenes and emotions.

Brazil

During his visit to Brazil cities Salvados, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the photographer kept the focus on the raw side of Brazil‘s street life.

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Guns, prostitution, police, abandoned buildings – Boogie shoots the opposite of what a typical tourist could imagine about this exotic country and that is the reason why his perspective is unique and shows a wider diversity of population around the globe.

Moscow

In 2019, Boogie released his newest photography book of pictures he took in Russia‘s capital Moscow. In these urban style pictures, he documented the daily life of locals.

boogie moscow photo 2

Tough tattooed guys, “Khrushchyovkas“ (apartment buildings, started to build during former USSR leader‘s Nikita Khrushchev governance period) and Soviet monuments mark today‘s Russia which was strongly implicated of USSR‘s heritage.

Boogie opened up, saying that doing photographs in Moscow gave him a feeling of being from the same tribe as these people.

According to him, Serbs and Russians were always connected as both nations are Christian Orthodox, both always had a similar world outlook and mentality.

Belgrade

Since Boogie moved to New York, he often visited his hometown Belgrade. Born as Serbian, he knows all the corners and for him, this city is full of inspiration for unique and raw pictures.

new york drug photo

Even his shots look gloomy, you can feel the power of reality in those pictures and that is something that attracts the viewer‘s attention – everything looks just very authentic and the opposite of glamorous and romantic views.

Serbia used to be a former country of Yugoslavia and because of the political situation in the country, Boogie also captured some signs of this situation.

He had published two books of pictures he took in Belgrade. According to him, the second book named “Belgrade guide“ (2017) is much different than the first one, called “Belgrade belongs to me“ (2009).

boogie photo

The first album comprises mostly of the pictures that he took during the massive protests in the ’90s against the regime and former country‘s leader Slobodan Milošević.

Boogie described his regime as apocalyptical – people have been starving and riot police were especially rough with the protesters.

He also noticed that taking a camera along with him and going into the street helped him to be more as an observer, not a participant in that chaos, so photography helped him a lot to survive hard times his country passed through.

Commercial photography

Near wandering through various cities and publishing photo albums, Boogie also made photoshoots for advertising. He shot photo campaigns mostly for sports brands like Nike, Adidas or Puma.

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Even shooting for commercials, he didn‘t renounce bold style of pictures, including even vulgar or harsh models‘ emotions and urban backgrounds or abandoned locations.

Links:

Boogie was featured here on our site:

My Top 10 Best Contemporary Photographers

Boogie‘s official page:

https://www.artcoup.com/

Boogie on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/boogiephotographer/

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Réhahn Croquevielle – Making It Personal

rehahn croquevielle

Réhahn Croquevielle is a french photographer who resides in Vietnam and is known for his fascinating pictures of Vietnamese people and their cultural attributes.

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He has released five photo albums, created exhibitions all around the world and established the Vietnamese heritage museum. Réhahn shares Vietnamese culture with the rest of the world and helps locals to live a better life.

Background

Réhahn Croquevielle was born on 4 May 1979 in Bayeux, Normandy region of France. He didn’t learn photography formally – he is a self-taught photographer.

He grew up in a middle-class family and started to travel soon after he got his first passport. Starting more like a touristic places capturer, he decided to go deeper in photography, when he moved to Vietnam.

rehahn croquevielle

According to Réhahn, he couldn’t get good pictures back in France and it looked like Vietnam offered many more opportunities for interesting shots almost on every corner.

The first time he came to Vietnam in 2007 as a volunteer with the French project “Les Enfants du Vietnam“, whose mission is support for needy children.

After that, he use to come to this country every year when one time in 2011 he decided to relocate himself and moved to France to Vietnam.

The main reason for that was because this country had everything he needed as a modern person – good roads, fast internet, etc. and of course people, who always were friendly, kept peace, and smiled at him.

young hmong photo rehahn croqueville

Réhahn visited 32 countries, but the most cheerful, no matter their social standing or how old they are, always smiling and warm people he met especially in Vietnam.

Réhahn has some rules for taking pictures of locals: he always spends a lot of time with his models, he thinks, it is important to know the person before you gonna shoot him.

This clearly helps to create a close bond with people in front of the camera which clearly is one of the keys to good portrait photography.

Giving back project

Réhahn’s work as a photographer can be described as a social responsible artist’s work. He does not take opportunities to take pictures of people for granted, he always wants to do something for exchange.

Since he started to live in Vietnam and shoot portraits of locals, Réhahn created a “Giving back“ project, which purpose is to support Vietnamese people whether it be medical care equipment for elders or education for children.

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His first book “Vietnam, Mosaic of Contrasts” was published in 2014 and on its cover was a 74-year-old woman Mrs. Bui Thi Xong. Photographer met her accidentally in the summer of 2011 – he was walking by the river, saw her on a boat and asked if he can take a picture of her.

When she agreed and saw herself framed on a camera, Thi Xong started to laugh at herself and covered her forehead and mouth with hands – that was the real moment for the perfect shot. The portrait came on the book cover as a symbol of joy despite the human’s age and social position.

Réhahn-Croquevielle-2

After the success of the shot, Réhahn became friends with this woman, they kept in touch with each other and he even helped her by buying a new boat cause this was the thing she wanted the most.

It also became one of the most popular images which represent Vietnamese people in the world.

You can see a picture of The Madam Xong today in The Vietnamese Women’s Museum, where it represents the strength, kindness and hard work of the women of Vietnam.

Behind blue eyes

The other impressive portrait of Vietnamese people he took, is the picture of seven years old girl An Phuoc in 2015.

an-phuoc

The image draws the viewer’s attention with incredible blue eyes, which is a rare attribute in countries like Vietnam. Turns out, girl’s great-grandfather was a French and that can explain why she could have this unique eye color.

The look of this girl is accentuated by a vibrant blue scarf on her head and the whole view looks playful because of her natural and childish smile.

He also took pictures of her older siblings and parents – the whole family represents the Cham ethnic group, of which they are descendants.

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Before taking this shoot, Réhahn spent a few days with a girl’s family at their home. He created friendly connection, which clearly helped him to make as natural as possible looking portraits.

In exchange for succeeded images, Réhahn helped financially for the family, also invited them all to his home in Hoi An and made sure that children could have the opportunity to learn the English language.

We featured Réhahn in our article, “My Top 10 Contemporary Photographers

Little girl and the Elephant

In 2014 Réhahn took a picture of a little girl named Kim Luan. In this picture, little Kim is standing next to the huge animal thus creating a spectacular contrast between each other.

little girl and elephant

This shot represents the M’nong tribe, an ethnic group in Vietnam, also respect to elephants and to all animals in general. Picture became famous everywhere around the world, when was published in Times and National Geographic magazines.

Capturing heritage

Photography can be a great way to show different cultures and heritage of other nationalities.

So Réhahn used this opportunity: he traveled across Vietnam by his motorbike and collected various stories from different ethnic groups, including their captured traditional costumes.

rehahn

He did surprisingly huge job by visiting 53 of 54 different tribes in Vietnam and collected 60 different traditional costumes. In 2017, Réhahn opened the Precious Heritage Museum in the city of Hoi An and he is planning to open another – the Co Tu Museum in Quang Nam city in 2019.

Current projects

Even he took thousands of pictures in Vietnam, Réhahn still keeps himself busy and socially responsible for various projects.

Despite his exhibitions all around the world, he creates landscape pictures from the top by using drone and his aim is to create pictures from different parts of the country.

With this project, Vietnam can be shown not only to people all around the world but also to the Vietnamese who cannot travel because of their social circumstances.

Réhahn’s official page:

https://www.rehahnphotographer.com/

Réhahn on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/rehahn_photography/

Réhahn on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Rehahn.Photography/

Videos

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Tomasz Gudzowaty – Iron and Sinew

Tomasz Gudzowaty is a polish photographer, who has received many awards for his unique photographs touching upon nature, social commentary, and sports photography.

Often presented in black and white, Tomasz’s photos are imbued with a sense of grandiosity that can be gleaned from quiet observation, even if the movements in the picture involve dramatic movements and spur of the moment actions.

tomasz gudzowaty

Background

Tomasz Gudzowaty was born on September 19, 1971, in Warsaw, Poland. He became interested in photography since early childhood, mainly because of his uncle, who was very passionate about photography and used to take pictures of his own home town.

When Tomasz was growing up, Poland was still under the Iron Curtain. Photography, like the other types of art in Poland, was controlled by the government.

In the eighties, the Independent Photographic Agency named Dementi was very active with recording the struggle for the restoration of democracy to Poland, and thereafter the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe.

Despite his interest in photography, Tomasz has chosen to study Law at Warsaw University.

gudzowaty taking pictures

After graduation with a master’s degree from the Faculty of Law and Administration, he has chosen his way as a professional photographer in then already free country.

Big break

The novel photographer started his career first in his homeland and soon after that, got his first awards at Polish Press Photography Contest.

Gudzowaty’s name became known to the international photographers’ community for the first time back in 1999, when he won the First Prize in Nature-singles category in the World Press Photo competition for his picture with wild animals cheetahs.

Gudzowaty cheetahs photo

That shot was breathtaking because of the killing moment in wild nature.

The next year, he continued his success and got two more awards in World Press Photo at the same Nature category, which gave him a well-earned reputation of being an observant and multi-talented nature photographer.

 Beyond the body

Next to nature-related photography, Tomasz tried him hand at sports photography. But he has chosen to look closer not into classical athletes: he took part in two Summer Paralympic games: in 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens as a photojournalist.

Tomasz was interested in those sports, which didn‘t receive as much media attention. He created images of unique sports featuring different continents around the world.

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From the interesting variations of yoga, synchronized swimming, gymnastics stretching and all kinds of peculiar local sports such as slum golf in India, also the Nadaam race (a brutal kind of horse racing taking place in Mongolia), to the Flying Warriors (a variation of the oldest known martial arts type known as Kalaripayattu) or Sumo wrestling in Japan – all these activities, not all very well known to ordinary people in Western countries, got his attention and the result was mesmerizing.

These shots show not only the physical capability of the body but also human philosophy conveyed by body motions.

Tomasz-Gudzowaty

His works have been printed in world-class magazines like L’Equipe, Newsweek, Forbes, Time, Photo, GQ, National Geographic Traveler and etc.

Tomasz Gudzowaty is also featured in the article, “My Top 10 Best Contemporary Photographers

 “Closer”

In 2016, Gudzowaty came back to nature photography. He released a new photography book called “Closer”, in which he put pictures of various penguins species in Antarctica.

tomasz gudzowaty penguins

In these, mostly black and white pictures, a photographer captured moments of penguins daily life. Next to the high contrast, mesmerizing pictures, Tomasz is sending a message about the frightening situation in the Antartica Peninsula – that part of Earth is warming five times faster than the rest of the World, which means a huge decline of penguins.

According to Gudzowaty, his goal was to make people “stop and catch their breath in delight at all this diversity.”

closer

Three years have passed from the releasing of this book, but the topic is relevant especially these days when many movements for climate change around the world are trying to draw governments‘ attention to make important decisions.

Family

Tomasz Gudzowaty is married to a Dominican-Spanish model Melody Mir Jimenez and they have two daughters. The couple is living between Warsaw and Spain, also travels around the world.

melody_gudzowaty

His wife joined him when he was wandering around Antarctica for three weeks, where he took pictures of its nature and wildlife for his album “Closer“.

Achievements

During his career, Tomasz received nine World Press Photo awards, won many prizes at Polish Press Photography competition, Grand Press Photo, Black and White Spider Awards and many more.

gudzowaty photo 1971 ship scrappers

Accolades aside, Tomasz still keeps working actively and brings joy to the Photography enthusiasts community.


Tomasz Gudzowaty official page:

www.gudzowaty.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/tomaszgudzowatyoffical/

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/tomaszgudzowaty/

Further Viewing

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Joe McNally – Creating Connection

Nikon-Ambassador-Joe-McNally-headshot-2016

Joe McNally is a globally renowned, award-winning American photographer, and visual storyteller. Some of his bestselling books include: Faces of Ground Zero (2002), The Moment it Clicks (2008), The Hot Shoe Diaries (2009), and Sketching Light (2011).

Joe is known for his passion for the medium of photography, as evidenced by his varied creative output, culled from all corners of the globe and all walks of life, as well as his fervour for cameras of all shapes and sizes, both old and new.  He still likes to hear the sound of a shutter.

He is also not afraid of heights, it seems.

View-from-Top-of-Burj-Khalifa-Dubai-2013

As a working photographer, Joe has played many roles and worn many hats over the years, with career highlights that continue to this day, such as being the ambassador for Nikon, not to mention that he was the former TIME /LIFE Magazine staff photographer, and a winner of four World Press Photo awards.  The list goes on.

Joe is always involved with something creative and extraordinary.  This video on “Transformation” is just one example of the many curious projects that he has been involved with over the years, with himself right in the thick of it.

Now, as then, Joe keeps tenaciously at his work, and is able to create remarkable singular portraits, by establishing a relationship with the subject in front of his camera to create a unique dynamic.

Joe-McNally-Ambassador-mountain-biker-over-canyon

His work may be compared to that of a master movie director, who is able to, by their sheer enthusiasm for the task at hand, bring forth a certain energy from those they work with, with unmistakable results.

(photos from: https://portfolio.joemcnally.com/index)

joe mcnally portfolio


Background

Joe McNally was born on July 27, 1952, in Montclair, New Jersey.

joe mcnally as a kid with his dad

He grew up gazing upon “Nikon World”, a magazine published by Nikon, thinking that printed pictures in such a magazine would be among the highest achievements for a photographer.

Little did he know at the time that he would become so closely associated with the word “Nikon”…

nikon world magazine

During his younger days, his inspiration came from well known and award-winning photographers like Jay Maisel, Pete Turner, and Eric Meola.

The first time Joe got his hands on a real camera, which belonged to his dad, the device resonated with him, and the snapping of photos soon began at a leisurely yet ever-increasing pace.

Speaking of Joe’s dad, Joe has talked about him on his personal blog, and it is clear that his dad’s influence – that of hard work and blue collar life, a connection with nature, and even his dad’s experience from being in the Navy – all this helped to form Joe’s identity as both a person and as a photographer

Many of his works definitely and rather directly pay an homage to his father in some form or another, even if it isn’t readily apparent in every single shot he does.

joe-mcnally-24

After attending Syracuse University with sights set on photojournalism, the first inklings that photography could be his career began to make themselves known to him.

After graduating, with camera in hand, opportunities for adventure began to call, and Joe was soon swept up in it.

One time he bought a train ticket heading east. He was walking through the docks and talking to the locals when suddenly got an invitation to join sailors for 14 days trip to the sea. This isn’t something that a lot of people would be apt to say “yes” to, but Joe relished the chance.

While riding the currents, there was, at one point, a huge storm at sea, and the ship and crew found itself pitching through 50 feet waves!  So, naturally, Joe started to take pictures. This experience was so breathtaking, that after the ordeal, he decided that perhaps photography was his calling after all.

Perhaps because of this nautical episode, in addition to his trips to Bliss Musky Lodge, bodies of water and peoples’ interaction with them have become a recurring theme in Joe’s work, used in a multitude of ways.

kelby online video training sessions


Career

Not too long after leaving Syracuse U, with a masters degree in photojournalism from the Newhouse School of Public Communications, Joe got a job with The New York Daily News newspaper as a copy boy.

This job was apparently was fated to be brief stint, because he was fired, and from there, Joe then moved to ABC Television and worked there as a photographer.

As the medium of colour photography continued to evolve, McNally saw more possibilities open up for him. It was surely an exciting time, as he started to work as a freelancer for various magazines like TIME / LIFE, Sports Illustrated, and National Geographic.

joe mcnally digital photo

National Geographic proved to be very educational for him by showing him a new standard for what was required of a professional photographer.

Joe’s photography skilled, combined with his passion and deftness with a camera lens, became to lead Joe into a full time career, where he then began to travel the world and meet many famous people.

One defining moment of his career was when Joe took a black and white portrait of former USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev, which was taken in the woods in some snowy Soviet woodland region.

The former Soviet leader looks ever-so-nationalistic when set against such a starkly beautiful backdrop of crisp white snow and characteristically Russian trees.

gorbachev by joe mcnally

With a growing base of experience, and his travels taking him around the world and meeting people of all walks of life, Joe McNally’s name began to really become well-known.

As such, he can basically photograph anything and tell a story with it.  His ability to relate to all people, places, and things of the world make him a jack of all trades, so to speak, but still with a style that is identifiable.

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From Burj Khalifa to Ground Zero

Throughout his career, Joe McNally has been to some stunning locations, some of which were not easy to reach, but gave spectacular views.

For example, he climbed to the top of the world’s highest building, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Here, he left a love note to his wife, and took the picture from the top, looking down.

Burj Khalifa joe mcnally

The funny thing about this particular shoot is, surprisingly, he didn‘t get paid at all. The only thing he got, monetarily, was some shoes from the same shoe brand he was wearing in the picture.

Of course, that particularly picture went viral and that led, not surprisingly, to new offers, to climb other skyscrapers, which of course from then on Joe accepted payment for.

This tower climbing story is a perfect example of Joe’s maverick spirit where he followed a seemingly crazy idea, took a risk, and it led to something great.

In January 2002, Joe finished one of the most important projects, not only in his career, but in the whole history of American photography – he captured images of people who saved others’ lives during the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

faces of ground zero

In these human-size portraits, there are firefighters, victims’ relatives, medical coworkers, who represent the real heroism of one of the most difficult moments in America’s history.

Here is Joe talking about this exhibition.

Joe opened up about the emotional struggle he dealt with in creating this project – sometimes people in front of the camera started to cry, remembering terrifying events of that day, and, during these hard moments, it was hard not to be too emotional.

With this project, Joe showed that despite difficult emotional moments, the final aim was achieved – these pictures became a book, and helped raised two million dollars which was then donated to public education.


Communication and Reminders

McNally has revealed that photography helped him greatly in his private life, to communicate with his family such as his daughters and ex-wife, while also providing reminders of situations that may not seem altogether positive, but ultimately show a sense of triumph.

He applied his photography skills when his daughter had self-confidence issues, or, the time that she accidentally hurt her face near a pool.  Rather than talk to his wife about it, he sent her this picture.

joe mcnally's daughter

In these situations, he couldn‘t find the right words to communicate how he felt, but the pictures spoke for themselves, showing support and encouragement, but also sometimes causing some controversy.

Also, Joe used photography as a reminder of the feeling he had, when he was visiting his mother for the last time at the hospital before she died.

Joe McNally's mom

Pictures like these can be bittersweet, but also provide important reminders about times that often can go undocumented, fading into memory and obscurity.  In some way, photos are a way to never forget, because we don’t want to forget.  In some way, documents like this are a way for us to learn.


Tips for Beginner Photographers

According to Joe, there isn’t a better time to be a photographer than right now.

There is plenty of good photo equipment, and, from there, the question becomes how to find a way to monetize various photography projects and get funding.

joe mcnally photo

In a sense, it may have been easier in the past, because printed publications were more plentiful when McNally started his career.

He always used to tell young photographers: get yourself a job in a newspaper, but, now, the world had changed, and newspapers are disappearing and online publications are on the rise.

Therefore, it is important to be active and tenacious when it comes to succeeding with your own destiny: start to create proposals, find contacts, and make sure to send your proposals out – from newspapers and magazines to corporate entities, places who might have a need of photography.

A good start for a career in a very fast-changing world can start even from local Starbucks or the library. Really, it can start from anywhere.

Joe McNally, as some other famous photographers, has a personal blog which he updates constantly, where, for example, shares his favourite camera lenses: 20 mm f/2.8 and 28 mm f/1.4.

Visit his blog here: https://blog.joemcnally.com/

Joe recommends starting a blog because it gives a voice and platform to spread works and ideas. Even if at first 10 people will read it, maybe 20 more will be the next month.  The snowball effect is real.


Joe McNally Quotes

“When shooting a story about someone, their hands should always be on your list to shoot.”

“The most important piece of equipment in your bag is your attitude.”

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“When I teach young photographers, I say: look, photography is not what you do, being a photographer is something you are. And if you are a photographer, you’re screwed, because you have no choice, you only need to go forward.”

“I wanted to meet Gorbachev because that’s what you can do as a photographer: take your imagination and make it real by photographing what you see.”

“When you find something which is truly beautiful, you can’t not shoot”.

Joe_McNally_by_Ahmed_Arup_Kamal

“A lot of people think that is all about the pictures; it’s not. You have to have a personality that sustains you. You have to have the drive, work ethic, to relate to the client, to people in front of the camera and make that happen quickly.”

“Even after 35 years of practice, it good pictures don’t come automatically. Maybe you have problems at home, and you need to work, so you do it. It’s not always like wandering through perfect lighted streets, sometimes it is, but most of the time is just hard work.”


References

Faces of Ground Zero:

https://www.facesofgroundzero.com/index

Joe McNally on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/joemcnallyphoto/

Joe McNally on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/joemcnallyphoto/


Recommended Videos With Joe McNally

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Jason M. Peterson – High Contrast Hustler

Jason M. Peterson is an American digital and mobile photographer who has come upon the photography scene in recent years, taking the world by storm with photos that play off the drama of darkness and light, and overall capture the majesty of the human experience.  

He is also, in the best sense of the word, a “hustler”.

jason m peterson

For his photos, Jason uses a strictly black & white technique, which was a style foreseen by the artist early on, and which is now seen by millions of admirers online and offline.

Rising to prominence via Instagram, Jason is part of the online movement of late, where people with amazing but previously uncelebrated skill seemingly rise to notoriety out of nowhere, due to a growing popularity, undeniable skill, and nascent social media presence. 

jason m peterson photographer

Jason is also the chief creative officer at Havas, a multi-national ad agency. 

He is a creator who clearly has the ability to straddle several worlds at once, from gritty stark street photography which broods with human drama, to a futuristic style that puts people into the context of the world we live in, to a more corporate lifestyle centred around his ad business. In this latter regard, he has worked with the Chicago Bulls, ESPN, and PacSun, to name a few organizations of note.

Visit: Jason M. Peterson’s legendary Instagram


Pre-Mobile Photography Days

Jason M. Peterson was born on 20th November, 1970, in Phoenix, Arizona. He started to delve into the world of photography by way of its history when he was in high school.

Early on, his methods of taking photos were no different than your typical photographer, using a camera and film, since that’s what was available at the time – all the while he had this burning desire to deliver quality results faster and better, in a more impromptu, temporal, and guerrilla way.

At first, none of this was not possible, creating some frustration for the artist, who simply wanted more freedom to work according to his creative impulses. 

Still, in his mind’s eye, Jason pondered the legacy of his artistic heroes, such as movie-maker Stanley Kubrick and photographer Harry Callahan, whose high contrast work that he did many decades before made a huge impact on Peterson’s style (see below).

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Early on in his evolution as an artist, and prior to the social media boom with mobile apps like Insta and Tumblr, there didn’t seem to be a way to be a truly “modern” photographer in the sense of applying the new mobile technology that was capable of beginning to combine phones, computers, and cameras into one convenient package.

Jason wouldn’t find a solution to the ADD-satisfying instantly epic results he desired until some time later.

jason peterson photographer

After graduating from high school, he studied history and design at the University of Arizona, where he made forays into fashion and urban photography.

One of the first things he captured photographically in his search for an artistic aesthetic was punk rock bands performing on a stage, since Jason himself was a fan of this type of music, and could easily spot the drama inherent in this style of performing.

jason m peterson arizona straight edge

In the beginning, he was using more conventional methods of photography, resisting digital photography as it appeared to be too obviously digitally made and inferior.

It took him some time before the technology caught up with his desire to actually use it.


Beyond the Barriers

Like many professional photographers, before starting to use social networks to promote his work, Jason M. Peterson was skeptical.

The Instagram platform, for instance, seemed to him to be a hipster haven with no appreciable value to him or his work.

welcome to instagram

At the behest of a friend, he tried it, and soon, he was hooked. 

After posting his first few pictures and getting likes from strangers all around the world, he quickly changed his mind – from there it became a game he could relate to, and a platform where his rapid fire photography of urban life and human interaction and expression might take shape.

Once the mobile phone technology finally “arrived”, as it were, in terms of camera quality, Jason was quick to embrace this new technology, where he could do his work in a very “in the moment” style, capturing exactly the combination of subject, light, and shadow, that he wanted.

The results he was getting, started to speak for themselves.

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Jason was quick to brand his Instagram page as a ready-made portfolio of his classic, high contrast, black and white images, and the world began to take notice.  Posting daily helped.

As he continued to evolve, he began to develop a more “timeless” technique, where everything he took seemed to rival his heroes in terms of composition and aesthetics, gaining an increasingly epic quality with an eye for details most would miss.

Now, to get the perfect shot, all he really needed to do with be out in the world, and the world would present to him shots that no one else but him could see or get.  Contrast, angles, subject, meaning – it all began to coalesce into what became his signature style.

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As time went on, he began to create with both expensive technology, and then different mobile technology and apps.  The world had opened up to him, and nothing was off limits in terms of achieving his photographic and artistic visions.

Jason began to truly embrace the freedom inherent in taking photos with a mobile device.  The devices were able to deliver the goods, and Jason M. Peterson became almost a medium between the “shot” and the camera lens.

Read our article featuring Jason M. Peterson – Top 10 Best Contemporary Photographers


Chicago

After twenty years of living in New York, Jason M. Peterson moved to Chicago and became a nonofficial ambassador of this city.

content_Chicago_Skyline

Jason has no qualms with sharing with the photography community exactly what camera and settings he uses, and which places or spots he visits.

Jason wants that everyone would have the option to do what he’s doing, but in their own way.  Since so many people have phones capable of taking incredible shots these days, there is no reason that people can’t do this for themselves, if that’s their wish.

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Jason has joked that he probably did more for Chicago’s tourism than all tourism campaigns combined, because everyone who follows his works on social media think that Chicago is amazing place to visit and they want to go there.  


Keep on Hustlin’

Seeking to improve his skills every day, Instagram has given Jason M. Peterson the ability to streamline his efforts, and progress in a way that is pleasing to him.  

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Keeping in mind the philosophy that new work should be, even in a small way, an improvement over old work, keeps Jason’s work ever-evolving, as he continues to capture the world in a way that has people in awe.


Quotes

“Wherever I’m at, I’m just looking around and I’m just watching life happen. There will be light shining off a building, and there will be a little reflection that people are just walking by with their Starbucks not noticing. I’ll just stop and look at that light and wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I’m late all the time, to everywhere I’m going. I’ll sit there and wait for some weird small little life moment to happen right in that light, and then it’s like literally one shot –  boom, I got it. And that’s it. But it’s like these little moments that happen in urban life all the time that you miss.”

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“I think the number-one thing is, do stuff that you really love to do. Don’t follow other people. Be true to your vision or what your passion or talent is. I shoot photographs every day, and people are like, how long did it take you to do that? And I’m like, I don’t know, like two minutes? Because it’s what I do. I’m really passionate about it. I think a lot of people are trying to force themselves into doing something that they may not even necessarily like or do or have a talent for. So I think the biggest encouraging thing is, figure out what your own voice is, and then just be about that. People will come along to that if it’s good.”


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