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Maggie and Pictures Past….

Jun 23

In Friends, history at 1:11pm

One of the best things about being a shooter, and, sorry young photogs, you have to wait for this particular delight–is getting older. Reason being is that you accumulate. Throughout all the travails and disappointments, the blown jobs, the missed calls, the times you zigged when you shoulda zagged, the broken pixels, the random attaboys, the monthly stare down with bills that aren’t getting paid, you receive, occasionally, the sheer unadulterated joy of having a camera in your hands at just the right split second when it all works. Not to get too frikkin’ Catholic about it, but those shards of time when gesture, light, and lens all work in concert with your head and your heart and that click becomes a frame that stirs emotion, creates memory, and provokes reaction–well, that’s like confession and communion all at once.

You accumulate pictures, to be sure, by the pound. Also stuff–trust me, you don’t want to go into my garage. (I needed that fiber optic unit precisely why?) But, just like an intricately woven fabric, the threads of a photographic life interweave, repeat, and get denser and richer over time. Those accumulated photos make connections, sometimes powerful ones. Sometimes ones you go back to, time and again.

In my freshman year of college, in gym class no less, I was alphabetically arrayed behind a guy named McDonald. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was already a fine photographer, and had firmly and completely cast his lot in school already. He was a photo major–done deal, no looking back. A photo major then and now, after spending an amazing career 35 year career as a newspaper shooter in Jersey. I of course was still deciding whether I was gonna major in journalism, peyote, hitchhiking around the Northeast, or pissing off my parents. (If they awarded a GPA for that last one, I’da graduated with honors.) Fast forward a bit, and Dennis married a wonderful lady named Maureen, and they had a daughter and a son–Maggie and Brian.

Maggie became over time, one of my all time favorite models. She was always a sprite, so she looked younger than she was, and was way smart, so she could take direction and pull off a shot. Like the one below, where she became a “latchkey kid” for a story about caring for your kids. I needed some pathos, some sense of “It’s getting dark out there!” for the photo to work, and Maggie pulled it off.

I’ve shot her for Nikon, for LIFE, and occasionally, just for fun. Maggie loved the camera, and it loved her back. She would resolutely take the modest modeling fees I would offer and do her own form of accumulation, called “The Europe Fund.” I always knew she’d be a traveler.

She has covered lots of ground in her young life, to be sure. She went to Williams College, which incidentally was rated as the #1 liberal arts college in the country, and amassed a lollapalooza of a GPA. She now holds two separate Masters degrees from University of Pennsylvania, and has worked already in India and Cambodia. Her field is foster care, families at risk, caring for kids. Helping people, in other words.

Her version of runaway bride.

My daughters, Caitlin and Claire, basically grew up with Maggie and Brian, every summer for 13 summers, down at the shore.

LBI and ice cream.

All of us, waiting for the bathroom at the Chalfonte, Cape May.

Kids on wheels.

She was a beautiful kid, playing dress up all those years ago. Then, just this past spring, I shot her engagement portrait. The real deal, this time. In a few days, she’ll be a beautiful bride. Everybody accumulates memory, but as a shooter, you get to illustrate that memory book.

On Saturday she gets married, down at the shore. I think I’ll probably shoot some pictures.

More tk….

71 Responses to “Maggie and Pictures Past….”

Alex says:

on June 24, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Congrad Joe,

Don’t hide your tear behind the camera ^^

Darren says:

on June 25, 2011 at 7:48 am

Because a wedding photographers job isn’t stressful enough, Maggie’s now has to deal with the fact that Joe McNally is in attendance!

Gale says:

on June 25, 2011 at 8:15 am

Joe,
I am speechless….

Quote ”
Throughout all the travails and disappointments, the blown jobs, the missed calls, the times you zigged when you shoulda zagged, the broken pixels, the random attaboys, the monthly stare down with bills that aren’t getting paid, you receive, occasionally, the sheer unadulterated joy of having a camera in your hands at just the right split second when it all works.

Was all worth it.

Congratulations Joe for giving Maggie the best.
Wish all a great life

André says:

on June 25, 2011 at 11:19 am

Ótimas palavras. nada como o tempo para nos ensinar a enxergar melhor para um grande click.Fotografia sem experiência de vida, sem bagagem cultural, torna-se somente uma foto. Seu trabalho é muito bom, tem vida, tem história. Um grande fotógrafo. Parabéns e vale muito compartilhar essas e outras experiência! Vale mais que uma aula!

Chris says:

on June 25, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Yeah, it’s kool. I like to listen to stories. And I also like to tell stories. I mean, someone shares a part of his/her life with you and you capture it with your camera – just to tell AND show this story someone else.
It’s a great way to draw interest for everybody’s life. Who says that the big stories are always on the news?

Thanks!
Chris

Steve Lavelle says:

on June 26, 2011 at 10:00 am

Hey Joe

Yet again… your blog moves me to tears

S

Jay Mann says:

on June 26, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Thanks Joe,

Nice post. Tugged at the heart strings…

Jay

Diego says:

on June 26, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Dear mr. Mcnally this is one beautiful post, really touching. thanks for sharing it with us :)

Taryn says:

on June 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Always such amazing stories and amazing images Joe, always such an inspiration.

xox

Tracy says:

on June 28, 2011 at 6:33 am

What a wonderful blog on my step-sis. I never knew she was such a model! Beautiful pics Joe, and what a great storyteller too!

MikeScott says:

on June 28, 2011 at 8:36 am

I had almost the same thought as Darren, her poor wedding photographer.. this time the family friend toting an SLR is Joe f’n McNally.

She’s a beautiful bride – best wishes to the happy couple.

michael says:

on June 30, 2011 at 8:58 am

very sweet story..

Apratim Saha says:

on June 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm

This is really a great work !

Denise Duhamel says:

on July 2, 2011 at 7:11 am

What a wonderful story! Tugs at the heartstrings in a nice way. Photos aren’t bad either (wink). Joe, you are truly inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

Richard Garrow says:

on July 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I too am speechless you touch my heart and also gave me the push to go back through my girls lives, I have taken so many photo’s of them and I am sure I too can create a beautiful photo book.. My middle daughter name is Caitlin beautiful name.. Thanks again Joe for sharing..

I agree that Maggie is a beautiful bride best wishes to her and her new husband..

sarah musumeci says:

on July 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm

What a great tribute to Maggie! Sounds like a charming young lady. GREAT story!

Branqueamento Dentário says:

on July 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Love is dangerous, but love is the biggest thing on this world!!!

Amy Parish says:

on July 12, 2011 at 12:46 am

i would like to hit “like” on this post about a thousand times…..for all the right reasons. :)

Linnea says:

on August 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Lovely

Fernando Salcedo says:

on January 22, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I’ve read this nice article three or four times, use to send the link to my friends as a gift. What a wonderful job being a photographer is!

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