Words and Photographs by Ryan McGinley
Since I was a teenage skater, we would always say “act natural” when we’d see a cop roll by. Nowadays, when my team is outdoors photographing someone nude and a park ranger cruises by, our model quickly hides, and I’ll tell my assistants, “act natural.” We always giggle after they roll by.
As a photographer, all I’ve ever wanted my subjects to be is natural. My job is to find that authentic moment where you feel their spirit—a person’s soul is natural. I’m searching for a picture without affectation or pretense, something that feels candid or off the cuff, or in simple words, “natural.”