Josh McNey is a photographer and creative director based in New York. The California native is a former US Marine and graduate of Columbia University. His photography regularly appears in international art and fashion magazines.
In his current role as the creative director of Casa de Costa, McNey has organized exhibitions of work by Italian photographer, Susanna Corniani, and Bronx-based photographer, Kevin Amato.
KALTBLUT: What is your main inspiration?
Josh: I like the idea that inspiration is an internal psychological process without any mystical overtones. It is certainly not limited to the purview of artists. I try to explore my academic interests and my visual interests. Right now I’m very interested in athletes, space, water and making pictures in the dark but these things change very often. Having the flexibility to explore is a very satisfying way to work.
KALTBLUT: How is black and white photography different than colour?
Josh: The quality of light and color in a scene has a lot to do with whether I make a black and white or color photograph. Black and white photographs, like drawing, rely on the balance between shadow and highlight to define the image so contrast is important. If a scene has a satisfying, well organized palette, I’ll likely photograph it in color.This is a simplified criteria but it is part of how I think of color and black and white when I am making a picture. I shoot film primarily but if I am shooting with a digital camera, I always shoot in color. It is fairly easy in post-production to take color out of a picture. It requires a lot more time painting in Photoshop if you want to add color to a monochrome image.
KALTBLUT: There is often some sense of melancholy in your photos, why is that?
Josh: If you see melancholy in a picture, that experience is really your own. I do like pictures that have emotional weight to them. I can’t really claim ownership of that emotional experience, though. I firmly believe that meaning in art — be it emotional meaning or factual meaning — is something rooted firmly in the mind and eye of the beholder, not the maker.
Josh: Early morning light is fantastic for photographs. It is also a wonderful time to make portraits if you can catch your subjects before they are completely put together. We all put on masks to get through the day. In the morning, you have a chance to photograph someone before they make this transition into their public self.
Interview by Emma E. K. Jones