Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Moment It Clicks

Joe McNally is variously described as “an internationally acclaimed commercial photographer and long-time photojournalist” and a “legendary magazine photographer.” He describes himself as “LIFE magazine's last staff photographer” (he held that position from 1994 until 1998 when the magazine ceased publication). Joe is among a select group of 10 photographers worldwide to work on the promotion of the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. You may know him from one of his exhibits; a collection of 246 giant Polaroid portraits taken in a three-week period immediately after September 11, 2001 (known as the "Faces of Ground Zero - Giant Polaroid Collection").

Joe was also one of two instructors/guides for the Nikon Photo Safari (pre-conference workshop) that I attended at Photoshop World 2008. He’s a wonderful, energetic instructor. Luckily, he’s also the author of a new book called The Moment It Clicks published by New Riders.

If you’ve ever looked at a photo and had a response somewhere between “what were they thinking?” to “How did they do that?, you’ll find this book fascinating. Often creative artists (photographers included) neither want to give away their techniques nor explain their work. In both respects McNally breaks the mold. Throughout The Moment It Clicks, McNally describes how he shot each image (with lighting, set-up, and equipment tips) and tells the story behind each photo. Among my favorites are changing a light bulb on the top of the Empire State Building (page 3), Joe’s first LIFE magazine cover (something about a green frog, page 19), Tony Bennetts (page 85), Munchkins (page 151), Nanny & Baby (page 199), Napalm Girl (Kim Phuc, page 213) and Her Pope (page 221).

Maybe your library has a copy you can check out?

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