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Joe McNally( is an internationally acclaimed photographer whose career has spanned 30 years and included assignments in over 60 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 25 year contributor to the National Geographic, shooting numerous cover stories for those publications. 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 has written several books, two of which, The Moment It Clicks and The Hot Shoe Diaries, cracked Amazon’s top ten list of best sellers. His advertising and commercial clients include FedEx, Sony, Nikon, Land’s End, General Electric, MetLife, Adidas, American Ballet Theater, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.


LACP Interviews Joe McNally

LACP asks Joe McNally ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography.

Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?

Joe McNally: I am often described as a generalist. I will photograph anyone interesting in front of my lens.

LACP: How long have you been shooting?

JM: For more than 30 years.

LACP: Where did you get your training?

JM: I have my BS and Masters in Photojournalism from Syracuse University.

LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?

JM: Pretty much my junior year in college.

LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?

JM: Of course! You have to get comfortable with rejection and uncertainty as a freelance photographer.

LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?

JM: I think relationships take the biggest toll with family with deciding on a life that keeps you on the road.

LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?

JM: It’s a fascinating window into people and places. I’ve developed lasting friendships and bonds with people that are priceless.

LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?

JM: On location and in the studio lighting classes.

LACP: What do you love most about teaching?

JM: Sharing the process and watching students get excited when they start making connections.

LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?

JM: Well it’s even more competitive now. It’s always good to have a diversified skill set. Know how to do video, write, and most of all know about business!