Photo Tools: Ryan McGinley's Camera and Film Choices

Photo: Buad Postma
The first time I was introduced through Ryan McGinley's photography was from the Sigur Ros Album cover for Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. The image of group of young naked bodies running across a highway surrounded by fields. For Ryan McGinley, young nude bodies, scenes bursting with life and an immediate snap shot style came to be the trademarks of his work. McGinley's photos captured youth and wanderlust in a way that no one has done before and inspired a whole new generation of photographers to describe their journeys and lives. 


"Don’t get lost inside your head, and don’t worry what camera you’re using." -Ryan McGinley.

I totally agree too, we focus way to much on cameras but people also want to know...


Speaking to the Glenn Obrien, RIP, in Purple Magazine McGinly describes using a Yeshica 24 and a Leica R8. The 24 is likely a transcribing error for the Yashica T4 a legendary point and shoot camera that is becoming extremely rare and expensive. The Leica R8 is a professional SLR body from Leica that utilizes the R lenses, which is different than the more popular and widely known M rangefinder lenses. Leica makes a solid camera either way and these SLRs were geared at professionals wanting a great shooting experience and access to a legendary lens maker. In another interview with Gus Van Sant, McGinley describes using the full frame Canon 5d as well. This workhorse full frame camera still takes great images  and has access to the wide and affordable line of Canon EF lenses. 

Yashica T4
Yashica T4
Leica R8
Leica R8

Canon 5D 12.8 MP
Canon 5d


From an interview with Gus Van Sant, it's a great read about making art as well. 
What kind of film do you use? 
Kodak Portra or Kodak Gold. Usually Portra. There’s the VC variety—“vivid color”—and it gives the photos really nice saturated colors.


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