Over the past fifteen years, Ryan McGinley’s practice has grown beyond its origins in candid lifestyle photography, bringing his emotive and wistful style to an expansive practice of figuration.
From his well-known Road Trip series, to his prolific Yearbook installations of studio portraiture, McGinley has honed a distinct sensibility whether depicting anonymous figures in American landscapes or sharing private moments with specific subjects. In this newest collection of images, McGinley fluidly traverses the different modes of his photographic practice, depicting his models as both forms and subjects, and creating a striking combination of landscape figuration and inventive portraiture.
Throughout this most recent body of work, McGinley photographed nude figures in upstate New York during the winter and fall seasons. The transition of seasons brings complexity to even seemingly monochromatic landscapes. By concentrating on a single region during a particular season, McGinley has honed his images to depict the character of both place and person.
Where several images in Paradiso evoke the same sense of spontaneity as the artist’s earliest work, these images also reflect his deliberate focus that has shaped the last decade of McGinley’s practice. McGinley’s photographic treatment of his models is increasingly concerned with the body as form, departing from the spontaneous portraiture for which he first became known over a decade ago, yet preserving the exuberance of a candid image. Through careful direction of his subjects and selection of locations, McGinley constructs a world that pairs humanity with nature and blurs the distinction between fantasy and authenticity.