There is virtually no photographic or cinematic precedent for McGinley’s groundbreaking Winter photographs: to capture naked bodies in such extreme conditions took profound measures of precaution, audacity and sacrifice on the part of all involved. The artist and his team invented and improvised manifold contrivances, employing the likes of ice-fishing tents, propane tanks and rock-climbing gear, in order to enable the production of these images. These pictures, unlike the Fall photos, feature hyper-limited palettes of whites, greens, blues and greys, finding intrigue and variance instead in the texture and organic architecture of ice formations. Impossibly, the unclothed bodies appear native to their wintry settings.
Over the years, Ryan McGinley’s camera has become more a tool for invention than documentation, conjoining the corporeal, narrative aspects of photography and cinema with their more orphic qualities. His images hover deliriously between reality and utopian fiction, characterized as much by apparent authenticity as obvious impossibility.
Ryan McGinley is an American photographer living in New York City. McGinley began making photographs in 1998. In 2003, at the age of 25, he was one of the youngest artists to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He was also named Photographer of the Year in 2003 by American Photo Magazine. In 2007, McGinley was awarded the Young Photographer Infinity Award by the International Center of Photography. In 2009, he was honored at The Young Collectors Council’s Artists Ball at the Guggenheim Museum. A 2014 GQ article declared McGinley, “the most important photographer in America.”