Ryan McGinley: Mirror Mirror

Ryan McGinley, one of the most important photographers of his generation, asks his friends and colleagues to take the camera into their own hands. Following instructions given to them by the artist, a group of individuals explore their
own image.

Ryan McGinley, since the earliest days of his unparalleled career, has chronicled his friends and cohorts. Whether on the now legendary annual road trips he has organized with a large coterie of twentysomethings documenting summertime exploits or documenting the early gritty years in downtown New York, McGinley is known as the consummate storyteller about freedom and abandon of youth. A few years ago, however, he wanted to challenge his creative habits and asked more than one hundred of his friends and colleagues--guided by detailed instructions and a camera given to them by the artist--to take nude self-portraits using mirrors and other props. Though related to the ubiquitous selfie, the participants didn't have the benefit of seeing the image before they clicked the shutter. Furthermore, McGinley would make the selection of the final image to represent the photo session. The experiment yielded scores of intimate and psychologically revealing photos that--even though not done by his own hand--bear some signature McGinley flourishes in their emotional depth and resonance.

About The Author

Ryan McGinley is a New York-based artist who was raised in New Jersey. After moving to the city, he began extensively photographing in the East Village. At the age of twenty-five, he became the youngest artist to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Over the last ten years, McGinley has traveled continuously throughout the United States to create work that incorporates nude figures active within the American landscape. McGinley frequently has solo gallery and museum exhibitions around the world. His work is included in the prestigious collections of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C., among many others. Ariana Reines is a poet, playwright, performing artist, and translator.

  • Publish Date: October 16, 2018
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Photography - Individual Photographers - Monographs
  • Publisher: Rizzoli Electa
  • Trim Size: 11-1/4 x 8-3/4
  • Pages: 216
  • US Price: $65.00
  • CDN Price: $85.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-6347-1


"Think of this as a masterclass given by one of today’s most influential photographers, one of the youngest artists to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. McGinley, who uses his friends as subjects, now puts the power in their hands along with detailed instructions on how to capture intimate selfies without the benefit of seeing themselves before the click." —Indulge

"The beauty of Mirror Mirror is in its layers of reflection, beginning with the most visible markers of gender, race, age, and body type, before delving beneath the surface." —Huck Online 

"Anyone who recognizes McGinley’s unvarnished depiction of freewheeling youth (The Kids Were Alright, You and I, Body Loud) will recognize the through line of this volume, even though not all photographs were by McGinley. The artist asked more than 100 of his friends to take self-portraits that he then compiled — they were each given a camera and guided by specific instructions (they had to be naked, using mirrors and other props directed by McGinley). The result is a controlled exuberance that’s of a piece with his earlier work." —New York Magazine 

"Most recently, McGinley asked his friends and colleagues, who were each given detailed instructions and a camera, to take nude self portraits using mirrors and other props. That along with contributions by Carlo McCormick, an American culture critic and curator, these portraits became a book, Mirror Mirror. Although the images are not taken by McGinley himself, the handpicked collection embodies his signature depth and celebrates the psychical." —Flaunt 

"From shooting drug-fueled downtown NYC denizens for the early days of VICE magazine to Brad Pitt tumbling down sand dunes for GQ style, Ryan McGinley has always had an innate ability to capture his cohorts in moments that are at once visceral and strangely poignant. This go-round, the celebrated photographer asked more than 100 friends and colleagues (whom he provided with a camera and detailed instructions) to shoot nude portraits of themselves using mirrors and other props. McGinley himself then chose which image of each subject to publish. Impactful, intimate work, that, while not shot by his own hand, is very much in keeping with the traditions of his aesthetic."
Inside Hook

Author Bookshelf: Ryan McGinley

Author Bookshelf: Ariana Reines