In just over a decade, McGinley’s work has gained a momentum and a popularity that is breathtaking. To give a little glimpse of its scale: For the opening of his last show in New York in 2010, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, an estimated 5,000 visitors turned up, forcing traffic in SoHo to a standstill. Influencing an entire generation of young photographers, one can trace his visual style not only to blogs and magazines, but to gallery walls, fashion editorials, music videos and advertising campaigns. In short: Ryan McGinley is the photographer of now.
Ryan McGinley’s steep ascent within the world of photography appears almost as effortless as his images: Born in 1977 in New Jersey, he moved to New York in 1996 to study graphic design at Parsons School of Design, where almost by accident he discovered his love for photography. Incessantly shooting his friends and surroundings, McGinley inadvertently documented the microcosm of youth culture in New York at the turn of the millennium in a body of work that stood out for its energy and optimism, despite the grit and rawness of the images – a style that should later draw comparisons to the work of Nan Goldin, Larry Clark and Robert Frank. In the meantime, McGinley befriended a group of local artists and creative types – among them his close friends Dan Colen and the late Dash Snow – that would soon be hyped as a ‘new movement’ by the press, a label based more on the excessive lifestyle the three had in common than their actual and quite disparate work.
For the past ten years, McGinley has continuously been one step ahead, and is already taking the next corner of his young career – like the teenagers in his images, like youth itself, always on the run, always looking for the next thing, but always with the unmistakable energy and optimism and lightness that ultimately characterizes all of his work. Because no one these days sculpts light, space and time quite in the same way as Ryan McGinley.
42 pgs, 15 × 20 cm, Softcover, 2011,