I had the opportunity to hear Joe McNally speak at Syracuse University (where I have one more year of enrollment, and his alma matter) near the end of 2007.
When I encounter something exciting I have a tendency to link it into my conversations for days. In part, to help wrap my mind around it, and in part to … be excited. Usually, this is some news article that I've read; perhaps a book; or even a funny tidbit from The Daily Show.
After listening to McNally, I talked about what him for weeks. Granted, part of this was because McNally's wife, Anne Cahill had brought the yet-to-be released D3 and D300 with the new glass, and we had all had the opportunity to play. It was also nifty to see how McNally worked, when, the following day, he demoed a lot of Nikon's wireless flash system to us. What I was bringing up the most though, was how McNally approached photography.
As an ostensibly successful photographer, he sure didn't present himself as such. Pro photography is a tough job, what little of being 'pro' I've been able to ascertain from being a student can vouch. Yet, I didn't become interested in photography to make money, and I'm not sure if it was attributable to his humbleness, but the McNally underplayed his true success – what he has experienced with a camera in his hands. Perhaps even more importantly, what he has enabled others to see what he experienced through that camera.
Today, McNally posted on his blog an intoxicating story about his 9/11 photography experience. Though he had mentioned parts of his adventure with the world's largest Polaroid camera at Syracuse, this blog post is touching, well written, beautifully illustrated (via photos of course), and well … go read it!