Acclaimed photographer, ‘climber of tall buildings,’ to appear March 7

By Taylor Erdman
In Motion Staff Writer

Internationally known and highly respected photographer Joe McNally will make a guest appearance on campus Tuesday, March 7, as the first of two world-acclaimed photographers making a visit to the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies, thanks in large part to program chair Daniel Biferie.

Joe McNally will give a lecture as part of an ongoing series. In April, White House photographer Stephen Crowley will meet and greet DSC students.
Joe McNally will give a lecture as part of an ongoing series. In April, White House photographer Stephen Crowley will meet and greet DSC students.

“The faculty and alumni of the Photography Program have a vast network of friends and colleagues that include many top of the photographers who work in virtually every field of the medium. Many of our alumni are distinguished photographers, filmmakers and artists in their own right,” said Biferie.

“In this instance Jessie McGiver, DSC photo alumnus and former graphic designert for InMotion, was instrumental in arranging the Joe McNally presentation and through the generous sponsorship of Nikon USA,” he added.

McNally, 64, will speak to students, staff and faculty at 1 p.m. in the Madorsky Theater, located in the Mori Hosseini Center, Bldg. 1200. The title of the Nikon camera ambassador’s talk will be “The Light and The Life: Photographer Joe McNally” and will cover the professional’s life over the span of a 30-plus year career. McNally is an award-winning photographer who has been a 25-year contributor to the National Geographic, a staff member at Life Magazine, a contract photographer with Sports Illustrated and has an extensive list of corporate and commercial clients.

Later this semester, students will be treated to an introduction to Stephen Crowley, a Daytona State alumnus, who is a White House photographer for the New York Times. Both photographers will visit the College thanks to the persistence and planning of Biferie.

McNally started his career writing for his school paper and discovered his passion for telling stories. It was that passion that he followed along the path to Syracuse University to further improve upon his journalism talents. During his college days, McNally was required to take a photography course, something most journalism students are required to touch base with to expand their talents and help find work.

“I really gravitated towards that immediately. I’d never really taken pictures seriously at that point but instantly when I started doing it, it was really a wonder and magic to it and it was also a way of telling stories, just a little different,” McNally said in a telephone interview.

He was eventually hired on at the New York Daily News as a photographer, but it was “a series of events, accidents really,” McNally said, that led to success.

When his employment at the New York Daily News ended abruptly, it propelled McNally into freelancing.

“That started a whole chain of events for me where I bounced into a job, then another job, had an opportunity, made some travel happen, got a couple of bigger jobs, you know? Just like all of a sudden it becomes a ball rolling downhill you don’t know exactly where its gonna go, but you know that you’ve picked up momentum,” he recalled.

As a freelancer, McNally had to work harder to maintain his career and to support himself financially. But he rose to the challenge and became an Ambassador for Nikon, writing several books that reached Amazon’s top 10 list. McNally also was named 2015 Photographer of the Year by the PhotoImaging Manufacturing & Distribution Association, among many other accolades.

One of McNally’s inspiring collections had its roots a few weeks after Sept. 11, 2001— “Faces of Ground Zero,” which included 246 large Polaroid’s of families, children and heroes involved in the tragic event. The collection features families, doctors, paramedics and firefighters, who risked their lives in the tragic event. Each photo is a very detailed Polaroid capturing the features and raw emotion of subjects. McNally used the exhibit as a fundraiser when he traveled with it to seven cities raising over $2 million to help victims in the aftermath of 9/11.

“It was one of, if not the defining event in our public lives,” he said. “And it happened right on my doorstep. I was really determined to be a part of it on some level, to make some sort of contribution.”

During McNally’s visit to Daytona State, The Southeast Museum of Photography housed in the Hosseini Center will display his collection of the “Climber of Tall Buildings.” The exhibition depicts McNally climbing the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, one of the tallest buildings in the world, as he documents the crew helping him with the accomplishment and their journey to the top.

McNally considered the event a challenge, as well as an exceptional photo opportunity to be 2,722 feet up in the air.

For any photographer aspiring to make it big , McNally has a sage piece of advice: “It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint.”.