Ryan McGinley is at it again. Over the past 15 years McGinley has photographed several notable cover stories for the New York Times Magazine. In 2004 he previewed the Athens games with an issue on Michael Phelps and the American Olympic swim team. Four years later, he put together a portfolio of portraits of Oscar nominees and leading actors in time for the Academy Awards ceremony. He was back with the Olympic athletes in 2010 when he photographed America’s team as they prepared to compete in Vancouver.
For the Times Magazine’s annual Music Issue, published March 11th, McGinley shot four covers, featuring King Krule, Cardi B, Gucci Mane, and SZA. Writing about the cover shoots, Jake Silverstein, the editor-in-chief of the Magazine, said “It’s the feeling of being present at the creation, a witness to the birth of new artistic energies, which is what this annual issue is all about.”
McGinley’s editorial work compliments his fine art photography. From the onset, McGinley has positioned himself as a chronicler of youth. When I coordinated McGinley’s one-man show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2003, Sylvia Wolf was the curator of photography. She characterised his photography: "The skateboarders, musicians, graffiti artists and gay people in McGinley's work know what it means to be photographed. His subjects are performing for the camera and exploring themselves with a self-awareness that is decidedly contemporary. They are savvy about visual culture, acutely aware of how identity can be not only communicated but created. They are willing collaborators.”
When I first began representing and showing McGInley, he was unknown. He photographed his circle of friends —the girls and boys in his pictures were often naked—and he called the resulting dreamy images "evidence of fun.” Since then, "McGinley's vision has evolved and expanded into a tidal wave of influence, affecting the look of art, advertising, music videos, film, even Instagram—and making him arguably the most important photographer in America,” according to Alice Gregory. We maintain the largest inventory of McGinley’s seminal early work, which can be viewed here.