I think the first time I discovered the work of Ryan McGinley was within the pages of Vice about ten years ago. I was immediately struck by his signature style. They were all pretty raw, unpolished shots of young people, generally naked, with natural bodies (minus the tattoos), and usually outdoors and out of the city, in a natural environment. There was something very genuine and authentic to them; they felt like polaroids taken at some cottage during a weekend of college age debauchery. I kind of felt that the subjects were friends of the photographer rather than professional models on just another assignment.
Fast forward to today, and former Skateboarder McGinley is still taking the same shots, finding that elusive moment that encompasses freedom. It’s such a consistent style and his ability to find those magical moments has translated into a career that’s influenced multiple mediums on an international scale. It’s not so surprising then, that Jay Z has recently privately conceded his Young Forever video may well have been influenced by his work. Read a recent interview and more on his his creative process here. It turns out I may have been right after all; alot of his models are indeed his friends.