He’s a legend to many and was named one of the top 100 Most Important people in photography. After reading his bio and hearing about his journey, you’ll see why this man has shaped and influenced the industry in more ways than one.
Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed photographer whose career has spanned 30 years and included assignments in over 50 countries. He has shot cover stories for TIME, Newsweek, Fortune, New York, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and Men’s Journal. He has been at various times in his career a contract photographer for Sports Illustrated, a staff photographer at LIFE, and currently, an ongoing 23 year contributor to the National Geographic, shooting numerous cover stories for those publications. And to think, we were fortunate to have a talented and accomplished man like Joe on our recent podcast.
When you’ve known a person’s work for a long time and you finally have the chance to have a conversation, it’s fun to find out that his talent matches the level of his entertaining and good character. I thoroughly enjoyed the hours that Joe and I spoke about the changing of the industry and the things that influence him as a creator.
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Joe was listed by American Photo as one of the 100 Most Important people in Photography and described by the magazine as “perhaps the most versatile photojournalist working today”. He has been honored as a member of Kodak-PDN Legends Online, as well as being a Nikon Legend Behind the Lens. In 2010, he was voted as one of the 30 most influential photographers of the decade in an industry-wide Photo District News survey. McNally won the first Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Journalist Impact for a LIFE coverage titled “The Panorama of War.” He has also been honored numerous times by Communication Arts, PDN, Graphis, American Photo, POY, and The Word Press Photo Foundation.
In the aftermath of 9/11, McNally, using the world’s only life-sized Polaroid camera, created a project called “Faces of Ground Zero,” which traveled through 2002, became a book, and helped generate approximately $2 million for the relief effort. It is considered by many museum and art professionals to be one of the most important artist endeavors to evolve from the 9/11 tragedy. His fine art work is represented by Monroe Gallery of Santa Fe, and his prints are in numerous collections, most significantly the National Portrait Gallery of the United States.
He shot the first all-digital coverage of the history of the National Geographic, called “The Future of Flying,” a 32-page cover story commemorating the centennial observance of the Wright Brothers’ flight. The coverage was deemed noteworthy enough that it has been incorporated into the archives of the Library of Congress. In the last two years, McNally has written two books, The Moment It Clicks, and The Hot Shoe Diaries, both of which cracked Amazon’s top ten list of best sellers. His advertising and commercial clients include FedEx, Epson, Sony, Nikon, Land’s End, General Electric, MetLife, Adidas, American Ballet Theater, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, among others.
He’s known internationally for his ability to produce technically and logistically complex assignments with expert use of color and light. As part of his teaching activities, he conducts numerous workshops around the world.