Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Dream-maker: Ryan McGinley

A decadent pictorial spread across W Magazine, somewhere along 2004 (for the admittedly-thrifty 12 year old me, innocent perusal of magazines in bookstores meshed well with my schoolgirl budget) had me gazing into the pages -- wondering if I stared hard enough, perhaps time dimensions would shift and I'd be the fortunate inhabitant of Ryan McGinley's ethereal world. The instant admiration was greatly helped by the presence of then-coke-addict, eternal-goddess Kate Moss; perched atop clouds, decked in an ornate fur coat and sans everything else. The marriage of it, the consequential perfection, and how I badly wanted to be in the photo spread had me becoming a Ryan McGinley cult follower until today.

Kate Moss by Ryan McGinley, W Magazine 2004

Directing and creating soft, paradisical series of imagery from behind the lens was one part of McGinley's appeal. The fashion industry raised praises to the skies for his work, spread across various Condé Nast publications (Vogue et al) and launching models' careers in between (the hand-picked Coco Young's career greatly benefited from being McGinley's protege). The young New Yorker's body of work and signature style of photography structured his success solidly. Through my eyes, he offered something much more than snapshots riding on fashion's vicarious glamor -- his exhibits were like a limb, warmly extending its hand inviting you for a temporal escape.

Ryan McGinley's photos. source, Ryan McGinley

Mastering photography wizardry was one thing, McGinley then proceded to work with the Icelandic ambient quartet Sigur Rós -- after being courted by the band, naturally. The byproduct of this holy union was Sigur Rós' poetic music video, "Varúð" (please don't ask me for the phonetics of it); and staying close to McGinley's dream-weaving tendencies, it was a poignant reflection of New York city, where he was born and bred. There's an inevitable romantic quality about his work, from the lighting palette that bears semblance to interplanetary commotions to the way he captures his subjects in various states of soul-bearing vulnerability.

Karlie Kloss by Ryan McGinley, T Travel Winter 2012

Years of mute admiration (lie, I wax lyrical of him across all social media platforms every now and then) never sparked any bone in me to compress my adoration towards (one of) my favorite photographers -- that was before stumbling upon a New York Times' T Magazine's cover of Karlie Kloss (who, is my favorite too), dangling her spindly gams on the edge of a Nicaraguan cliff. Not only did it inflict an acrophobic trepidation, but a circus of emotions -- and this is what Ryan McGinley does to me with his images. I hope he never puts the camera down.

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