Lighting up my world

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    There is an artist like none we have seen yet today in my eyes. When we talk about capturing a moment for all that it is you need to put the light on it to see it right. There is one person that absolutely has blown others out of the water when it comes to the ability to put light on his subject. Joe McNally has taken simple pieces of the photography realm and made them into some of the most complex looking compilations of work in today’s world of photography. The ability to capture the expressions and the looks for his subjects that most only dream to capture. The pieces he has shot that make the biggest impact on me are his “Faces of Ground Zero.” Not for just the ability to take a clean crisp flawless picture, but for the heart he has when it comes to reaching out to his audience. I lived in the NYC metro area when the towers came down and as a firefighter, military service member and a New Yorker all in one, these pictures capture the everyday Americans who had to step up and be someone’s hero that tragic day. The theme that he captured in his pictures that project that means the most to me is the emotions. Every picture in that collection has something to say to you, through the body, the eyes, the stance of the person being photographed. I don’t enjoy seeing the hurt, pain or suffering in each of the subjects, but I do like the fact that there is a photographer with sensitivity enough to take these pictures and still have a decent display of each. They are not left standing there merely as someone who has been struck with a tragic event in their lifetime, but as someone who has seen, felt, experienced, heard, been pulled through the fires of a dark and immortalizing event of history.

    Among the other abilities and gifts that Mr. McNally poses, are his colors. He knows what colors will be affected by what light. He has the capability of taking these colors and not over doing it and not letting the color die in front of his lenses, but taking it to the perfect level that will balance out his art. The blending of his light and color in all of his pictures have a more perfect feeling than most any other artist of his time. This shows a certain boldness and confidence that is probably lacking in today’s field. This is a characteristic that I would like to not only strive for but try it excel in. There is a real artist in Joe McNally that if you ask me would compare to some of history’s greatest painters, Monet, O’Keeffe and Da Vinci. He has the sure fire ability to use, his uniqueness and color and lighting all in one project. He takes what is given to him and uses it for something that most would be afraid to even try. There are plenty of artists who can be talked about for hours and hours and compared to many who have come before them, but how do you pick just one? This artist is one that I will not forget his work but I will study it and say to myself over and over again, how does he do what he does with what seems no effort?

    Duncan Rawlinson

    I really enjoyed read your report.

    It was refreshing to hear you (as a firefighter) say that you didn’t find the behavior of some 9/11 photographers opportunistic.

    For those that are interested you can see Joe’s photography here:

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