Happy Birthday, Joe

Joe McNally (July 27, 1952)

I’ve been fortunate, throughout my life, to have a few good men give me guidance and help me along.

My dad, first and foremost. He’s always been a quiet man, but sometimes even by not saying something, he said something.

My high school basketball coach and one of my first work bosses too. We spent many an hour discussing life while driving from one landscaping job to another.

And my friend and mentor, Joe McNally.

Today is his birthday, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t wish him a happy one here. It’s hard to believe I first met Joe almost 17 years ago now. He was the photographer the design agency my company, at the time, was working with on the annual report. To be honest, I had no idea who Joe was the first time I met him in that agency office in Manhattan. It was November, maybe early December, and he was in a black turtleneck and tweed sports jacket. Looked all serious.

Just after New Year’s Day, January 2000, we took off on a two-week, six-country European photoshoot swing.

A fast friendship was born on that tour.

And, a match was lit, for me, regarding photography.

I may not have known it at the time, but meeting Joe, hearing his stories, watching him work,started the latent passion for photography.

Put his name into this blog’s search engine and you’ll see how many times I’ve mentioned him here.

The photo above is from a lighting class he taught in Dobbs Ferry in 2009. The only lighting class I’ve ever taken (maybe that’s why my off-camera flash isn’t so hot.)

He’s in full teaching mode, something I saw in him even when we first met. I’ve always said that, in addition to his low-key demeanor, humor in the face of adversity and just general good-guyness, his ability to change with the times and keep in front of all the photography curves, is one of his best attributes.

He’s taught me a lot, whether in person or from afar. We still keep in touch. I last spoke with him a couple of Sundays ago. In fact, for the past few months, we were planning to work together on a noir shoot. Except that he wanted me in front of this camera, like we did once before. Schedules just didn’t work out and I had to bow out.

We were able to catch up and connect again.

A mentor and his student.

Old friends.

Weird that I can say that.

Joe is headed to Rio in a couple of weeks, his first Olympics in a while. He’s happy and excited.

I’m sure he’ll put his camera in a new place, shoot entire-to-detail and let the magic of photography take over.

He’s one of the greats

Happy birthday, my friend. Here’s to many more.

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

 

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