First in a line-up of round robin interviews, The Bullet is pleased to present the work of the young, talented photographer, Josh McNey. I first met Josh during the Teenage Rebel Bedroom Show way back in 2002. He would stop in frequently and play video games with me, then, like a young Hogwarts magician, he disapeared. I'm glad he's back. I remember going to his apartment to look at his photography. I'm glad he stuck with it. I think he's quite good.
hug_scott: Hi Josh, you in there?
jsm22ca: How goes?
hug_scott: Yikes, some dood wants me to check out his webcam... always a distraction from work.
jsm22ca: Do it! Call it research.
hug_scott: He's really hot. There he is strokin’ his meat.
jsm22ca: Hahah. On a webcam? Who would do such a thing? I don't have a webcam. Anymore.
hug_scott: I don't have one either.
jsm22ca: So you're just a webcam voyeur?
hug_scott: Yeah, I guess so. It kinda happened by accident.
hug_scott: Now, every time I turn on my IM, he's there.
jsm22ca: Have you met him in person?
hug_scott: Nope. you want his address? We can both watch while I interview you for the Bullet.
jsm22ca: Send it.
hug_scott: Sorry, we should stay focused.
jsm22ca: Indeed. Ok. I'm here.
hug_scott: So, you like to shoot boys in your work?
jsm22ca: Very much so. Boys and flowers and boys and family and boys. I think it's sometimes an excuse to stare.
hug_scott: I love your work. It's very intimate. How do you find your subjects? Are they friends of yours?
jsm22ca: Thanks, man. I appreciate it. I usually shoot one-on-one and that's probably where some of the intimacy comes from. Some are friends and boyfriends. Some are family. Some are cute boys that I find online. They’re all the boys I've loved before.
hug_scott: Oh, so you find them online too?
jsm22ca: For sure.
hug_scott: I really like your new work with the rodeo boy from the TV.
jsm22ca: Oh, the rodeo. Those boys are wicked hot.
hug_scott: Yes, I grew up in the Midwest going to rodeos and I love it! Do you know them personally or are you like fan obsessed with them?
jsm22ca: Umm, I don't know if I'm fan obsessed. I don't know them, though. I tried to contact one of them to take pictures but never got a response from him. So I just take pictures of him on TV now. It can be frustrating getting turned down. It always feels like a missed opportunity. Maybe someday we’ll meet. I think he probably didn't see himself in my photos or maybe my letter went to the wrong house. I think the cowboys have a kind of masculinity that is familiar to me from my time in the Marines. I wish I had taken more pictures then, too.
hug_scott: I love the TV ones. I like that you can totally feel the love through the static, you know what I mean?
jsm22ca: I like the way the image changes between how it looks on the TV and how it looks photographed on TV. I think some people might see love or lust and others might see something else. It’s definitely different than the TV image, though.
hug_scott: In a way I think it's better. I did a project recently where I stole footage from other fan videos of my heartthrob, Wentworth Milller.
jsm22ca: I never realized how big of a Wentworth crush I have until I saw that video.
hug_scott: He's mine!
jsm22ca: I promise, I'll never touch.
hug_scott: I remember when I first met you, you came and hung-out with me in The Bedroom Show—way back in 2002.
jsm22ca: You were really sweet. NYC was a big whirlwind move for me and you were really nice to me.
hug_scott: Thanks. I try to be sweet when I can. I like the orange color field photo a lot... kinda reminds me of Mars. Can you tell me more about that photo?
jsm22ca: I do lots of color fields. I started doing them many years ago, the first being totally accidental but over time I’ve taken to doing them pretty consistently. I guess I’d say I do them deliberately even if the outcome isn’t always highly controlled.
hug_scott: One thing I've noticed about your book and your blog is that you know how to edit.
jsm22ca: I have so much stuff that I like but I'm really slow and reluctant to show it. I try to be motivated by my own likes and dislikes but it's really, really hard for me to tune out my expectations of what other people will think. I’m always working to be better at listening to my heart.
hug_scott: I think it's good. Less is more. I still believe in that.
jsm22ca: Yeh, but sometimes I wish I could worry less and just trust my instincts more. I’d like to show more photos.
hug_scott: There's a nice pace and consistency in your work.
jsm22ca: I think I'm pretty careful about my selections. Occasionally I post stuff on my blog or hang stuff on my walls and then change my mind and take it down two days later. I guess that’s called editing.
hug_scott: I do that, too—re-edit and then re-post. I've been meaning to ask you about your drawings. I like them too. Is it something new you are doing or have you been making drawings for a while?
jsm22ca: The amateurism is evident, haha. I started drawing pretty recently—back when I was finishing my degree at Columbia. I do a lot of automatic drawing. It's a practice I learned watching my mom doodle while she was on the phone. I don’t think I’m a particularly consistent draftsman but I really like doing it anyway. For me, it’s very spontaneous and always feels a little out of control. But I like that. I like accidents in drawing and in photographs.
hug_scott: Did you study photography at Columbia?
jsm22ca: No, I studied sociology.
hug_scott: That's great. Are you more of a self-taught photographer?
jsm22ca: Almost entirely. I took a photo class in junior high and another one in high school. The junior high school class was cool. We made pinhole cameras using Quaker oatmeal containers. High school was when I got really excited about photography, though. That was when I decided that I wanted to be a photographer.
hug_scott: Awesome. Who you admire? Who are you inspired by?
jsm22ca: Gosh, there are so many. I was thinking about this today. I really love Walter Pfeiffer. Wolfgang Tillmans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Nobuyoshi Araki, Pablo Picasso and Mark Morrisroe have all been really influential on me, too. My parents and my boyfriend have been really supportive and inspirational. My brothers Matt, Andrew and Jono are all tremendous artists. I’ve been surrounded by lots of positive, creative energy. I don't really dislike too much. There is stuff that maybe doesn't hold my attention for long but I don't necessarily dislike it. I kinda find "good/bad" evaluations of art to be a little bit useless, personally.
hug_scott: Yes, okay me too.
jsm22ca: I understand the market function of those kind of evaluations but on a more fundamental level, I think they're just chatter.
hug_scott: Yep, I agree.
hug_scott: I had all these things I wanted to ask you but I'm so comatose from my dinner that I got spaced out!
jsm22ca: Well we can continue our conversation at a later date, sir.
hug_scott: Have you ever wanted to go into space?
jsm22ca: No. Not in an, "I want to be an astronaut," sort of way. When I have nightmares, I escape by flying into space, though. I don't flap my wings but I kinda flap my arms and just keep going higher and higher and higher. It feels scary at first and if I stop flapping, I start to fall. But if earth is scary enough, I just fly until the dream stops.