Two photographers share how Michele McNally, who shepherded a new age of photography at The New York Times, touched their lives and work.
She wanted to teach me photo editing to better inform my photography. For months, we met at 7 a.m. to look through 75 years of Fortune magazine photography at what is now called the Life Picture Collection. She’d explain to me her vision of a successful frame, what she looked for in a photographic composition and why some images had become icons. We’d sift through the hundreds of folders each morning before the workday began.
Michele McNally, the first photography director of The New York Times who brought photojournalism to new heights, died on February 18 from complications of pneumonia in a hospital in Yonkers, NY. She was 66.
Michele McNally, director of photography and assistant managing editor of The New York Times, offers this perspective: “The vast majority of the 20 percent were obvious deceptions – there were addition or subtraction of material, that was really evident.”
“Digital darkroom processing…is not the same as the old wet, analog darkroom,” said McNally. That is why the rules are outdated: “So much does not apply and we need clearer standards.”
Boring. Blaaaaah. That is the first word that comes to mind when looking at the winner of the World Press Award, circa 2015. Don’t get me wrong, this year’s committee, led by Michele McNally, probably the best photo editor of our generation, was full of talent. But it was just that, a committee. And time and time again, we have learned that nothing of quality comes out of a committee’s decision.
The Times swept the 2014 prizes for photography. Tyler Hicks won for his coverage of a terrorist attack at a Nairobi mall. Josh Haner was honored for his images of the slow and painful recovery process of a Boston Marathon bombing survivor.
“For me it’s a symbol of what we do at the newspaper as a whole — the best of foreign reporting and the best of our enterprise,” said Michele McNally, the paper’s assistant managing editor for photography. “It is recognition that our photojournalism is on par with the quality of The New York Times’s reporting, which is the best in the world.”
Michele McNally — Talk to the Newsroom
Michele McNally – NYTimes.com:
Assistant Managing Editor Michele McNally, who oversees photography for The New York Times, is answering questions from readers June 22-26.
On Assignment: Taking Time Out to Heal
Lens Blog – NYTimes.com says:
On Friday, from the American Hospital in Istanbul, Lynsey Addario sent the following message to Michele McNally, an assistant managing editor.
Hi just got to turkey and am in american hosp here. What a gigantic difference from pakistan! Its like I’ve spent the last five days in a cave! They have me strapped up in this figure 8 sling, trying to pull my bones apart. Doctors now are discussing surgery. Collar bones banging into each other and it is sooooooooo painful.
The Times is gathering a fund to give to the six children of the driver, Raza Khan, for whom he was the sole provider.