Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ryan McGinley

I have seen his work years ago but never knew who he was. I was first introduced to his work when picking up a free VICE magazine in San Francisco. I saw a bunch of nude kids on a tree, and when I mean tree, this tree was HUGE. It was strange that a free publication would put nudity on the cover of a free magazine.
 - is it nudity or a bunch of young people frolicking in their birthday suits?-
 When looking at McGinley' work, it may appear as a bunch of young people running around naked and hanging out. It is indeed that but only on the surface. If we deconstruct the body of work, it feels like moments shared between people, places, and adventures. Nudity has never been a negative thing to me, but serves as a clue to what the photographer wants the viewer to understand. After looking through the body of work, the fact that they are nude escapes the equation because the viewer is forced to view these young people naked. This removes the initial shock and the viewer can actually understand what is happening in the photographs. When you remove the clothes you are left with what is truly human, the subject is exposed, it can depict a vulnerability or strength depending on how the photographer constructed the work. 

-Strange Pairings; a black eye and a bird on the shoulder -
McGinley has some interesting pairing going on inside of his body of work, specifically this studio shot. There is a lot of symbolism in this piece that I found moving and beautiful. Even though abuse is tragic, there is a sense of beauty in the black eye, her pose, expression in the face and the juxtaposition of the bird and its gaze into the young woman. Again beauty is in the eye of the beholder, to each his own. 

You can check out more of Ryan McGinley's work here!

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