McNally regularly writes a popular, occasionally irreverent blog (joemcnally.com/blog) about the travails, tribulations and high moments of being a photographer, and has authored several noteworthy books on photography. McNally has also adapted to the Internet driven media world, and was recently named as one of the “Top 5 Most Socially Influential Photographers” by Eye-Fi. McNally was also named the 2015 Photographer of the Year by PMDA. He is also among those photographers who have bridged the world between photojournalism and advertising, amassing an impressive commercial and advertising client list including FedEx, Nikon, Epson, Sony, Land’s End, General Electric, MetLife, USAA, Adidas, ESPN, the Beijing Cultural Commission, and American Ballet Theater.
McNally’s most well known series is “Faces of Ground Zero – Portraits of the Heroes of September 11th,” a collection of 246 Giant Polaroid portraits shot in the Moby C Studio near Ground Zero in a three-week period shortly after 9/11. A large group of these historic, compelling, life-size (9’ x 4’) photos were exhibited in seven cities in 2002, and seen by almost a million people. Sales of the exhibit book helped raise over $2 million for the 9/11-relief effort. This collection is considered by many museum and art professionals to be one of the most significant artistic endeavors to evolve from the 9/11 tragedy.
Some of McNally’s other photographic series include: “The Future of Flying,” a 32-page cover story for National Geographic Magazine, December 2003. The story, on the future of aviation and the first all digital shoot in the history of that venerable magazine, commemorated the centennial observance of the Wright Brothers’ flight. This digital coverage was deemed significant enough to be incorporated into the archives of the Library of Congress.
A sought-after workshop instructor and lecturer, he has taught at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshop, the Eddie Adams Workshop, the National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution, and the Annenberg Space for Photography, Rochester Institute of Technology, the Disney Institute, and the U.S. Department of Defense. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and returns there to lecture on a regular basis.