Gay Photographer Ryan McGinley vs. Brad Pitt
GQ magazine publishes a quarterly “style” issue, and “Summer 2017" just came thundering down. There are three different covers, each featuring a head shot of Brad Pitt. Inside, there’s a 60-page spread called “Monumental”, consisting of fashion photos and an interview with Pitt – post divorce and post alcohol. The photographer is Ryan McGinley, best known for shooting naked, tatooed and emaciated teenagers lounging about in twisted and contorted poses. To my taste, he would be the last photographer I’d choose to photograph Pitt. McGinley is somehow able to drain any hint of sexiness from Pitt, and that must have taken great effort, considering the source material. Pitt looks tired, strained and disinterested, bereft of even an occasional grin or smile. Shot on locations from the Florida Everglades to the American West, Pitt writhes and twists in articles of clothing breathtaking for their cost and hideously poor taste. Here’s an example:
White Sands | Sports jacket, $3,395, by Giorgio Armani / Tank top, $240, by Rick Owens / Pants, $790, by Bottega Veneta.
If a guy could afford these clothes, where would it be appropriate to wear them? Further, how could these clothes flatter anyone?
Photographer Ryan McGinley (b. 1977) is gay, though he has said in interviews he’s not sure how much his sexual orientation translates into his work. While speaking with gay artist Catherine Opie, McGinley said that his older brother, who died of AIDS, played a large role, instilling within McGinley a contagious zeal for life that he believes makes his photographs hum.
From your blogger: Well, “hum” is not the word that comes to mind. While browsing McGinley's web site, I was hard pressed to find a nude photograph that was remotely sexy. I place photos on this blog that are to my taste, of course – and they reflect what I find sexy. But that's just me. I recognize that we all have different tastes. And I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with fashion photography. I remember a men's fashion shoot that featured a $450 cashmere V-neck sweater. It was photographed thrown into a trash can, with just one cuff spilling out over the rim. Really. Makes me miss the days of Abercrombie's quarterly magazines -- the early ones in all black and white. Bruce Weber knew sexy. Well over a decade ago I ordered about a half dozen of them off E-Bay. After hosting an overnight guest who only hours before had made my acquaintance (if you get my drift), I noticed shortly after his departure that the stash of A&F magazines was missing. I forgave him, because they really were that irresistible.
But I digress. Back to McGinley’s comments:
“I think that...my work is...about really embracing life and going wild and creating photographs in which there’s so much energy and so much life being lived. For me it’s an escape. Like when I’m looking through the viewfinder, I’m in another place.”
From McGinley’s web site: Youth, liberation and the joy of losing yourself in the moment are elements that feature throughout Ryan McGinley’s work; from his early roots in documenting the urban adventures of his downtown Manhattan friends to his subsequent cross-country travels in utopian environments throughout America, to his most recent studio portraits.
Well, there you have it.
Too preppy for words: