"The photographer of the year"
Obsessive might also describe Mr. McGinley’s rigorous method of working. From 1998 to 2003, when he lived with friends in Greenwich Village, he took Polaroid pictures of anyone who visited. He wrote the name of his subject, the time and the date on each Polaroid, then fastidiously placed them on the wall. Eventually the apartment walls were covered with tidy Polaroid grids.
The treatment of gay male bonding “feels refreshingly direct and immediate, autobiographical without being narcissistic,” Mr. Cotter added. “Among other things it’s part of a new approach to the visual depiction of gay life in art.”
The skateboarders, musicians, graffiti artists and gay people in Mr. McGinley’s early work “know what it means to be photographed,” said Sylvia Wolf, the former curator of photography at the Whitney, who organized his show there. “His subjects are performing for the camera and exploring themselves with an acute self-awareness that is decidedly contemporary. They are savvy about visual culture, acutely aware of how identity can be not only communicated but created. They are willing collaborators.”