Written by Ryan McGinley, Contribution by Nan Goldin
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 an acclaimed photographer who began taking photographs in 1998. In 2003, at the age of 25, McGinley became one of the youngest artists to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. He was named Photographer of the Year by American Photo Magazine that same year. In 2007, he received the Young Photographer Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography. His work has been shown in numerous galleries and museums internationally, and is part of the collections in the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ariana Reines is a New York-based poet and writer.