All Hail The Grandmaster: Joe McNally

(if you want to open up the article i’m referring to in a new window to check, just click on this link: )

I am an unabashed admirer of the #photography  of Joe McNally .  Before I started the whole #photoshop  guy thing, I stood slack jawed at his photographic work, and hoped to be able to get ‘as good as’ him.  There are three men that I revere photographically, and he is tops on that list. It’s funny because a lot of what I do is so vastly different from what inspires me.

Joe’s most recent work includes a commission to create a book for the North Shore #LongIsland Jewish Hospital system.  Here on G+, i feel like we’ve become a vat of slow exposure clouds and water, selfies, steel wool shots,  and HDR (guilty) so I could immediately understand how thinking of a book of a hospital system may not be tops… but go through the blog post and check out the images there..

I always tell people, if you’re going to admire someone, know exactly why you do.  If you like X photographer, you should study their work, look at patterns, and be able to write down what it is you admire about the pieces.  For me, its been two things.  First-  the ability to use light in a manner where it fitsin a scene – and nothing more.  Second – the ability to tell a story with the images.  To keep you looking at them and wondering about the shot, or incite an emotion.  Putting them together like that makes for an incredibly compelling package.

Joe tackles this project and returns something that feels a lot like a photo essay on the system.  Artfully done, it brings you through a gamut of emotions, without a gratuitous hosing of off camera flash.

McNally sees himself as a generalist – but its at this point that I disagree.  To me, I see him as one of the most sought after specialists. The photographer who can come in and chisel out a story with whatever form of light is needed.

And nothing more.  Great job Joe.


  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Joe McNally is one, if not my most favorite, photographer…Sorry RC. It not only amazes me how he uses light, but how his mind works to see it, and when necessary, manufacture the light he needs. I’m a little less ambitious then you RC, I wish I could be half as good as Joe.

  2. Not to mention that he’s also one heckuva nice guy and very generous with his knowledge! Joe’s ability to take seemingly any situation and come out with amazing images is a constant source of inspiration and amazement.

  3. Agree 100% with you RC. Joe is tops in my book. Also consider Joel Grimes, Dave Black and Glyn Dewis as “virtual mentors” mostly through the Kelby Training videos I use on a weekly basis.

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