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That’s LIFE….

Jun 7

In Links, News, Thanks at 6:00am announced the winners of its’ 2011 Photo Blog Awards, and this little rambling collection of thoughts ended up winning one. Very honored, especially when you look at their roll call of winners….Lens, from the New York Times, Bag News Notes, Time magazine’s Lightbox, and NPR’s Picture Show.

The blog is fun to keep up with, albeit at times a bit daunting. I find myself writing on planes, or airport lounges, or in cars on the way to location. Thank goodness for hot spots! Thank goodness, too, for this amazing adventure. Thirty five years with a camera in my hands, and still going. New Geographic assignment coming up in July, and today, for instance, into NY for an ongoing portrait series on the 10th Anniversary of 911. Stuff just keeps happening, and the blog, for me personally, has become a good way to check my pulse.

Life’s comments on Numnuts….

“The thoughts, notions, and ideas here come from thirty years in the field as a shooter,” reads the text in the upper-right hand corner of this blog, underneath a smiling stick figure and the casual, handwritten words “Meet Joe.” It’s that juxtaposition of the serious and the playful that make Joe McNally’s Blog such a treat. With bona fides from Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, and LIFE (for which he was a staff photographer), McNally tells stories and gives advice from behind the lens, pulling from his travels and his vibrant, extensive portfolio to riff on newsmakers (like the Navy SEALs, whom he once followed in training), share deeply personal memories of favorite shoots, and totally geek out on lighting technique and gear (explaining, as only he can, the best clamps, lenses, strobes, etc.). With eloquence, humor, and passion, McNally makes every post a love letter to his craft.”

That is pretty much the way I feel. Still in love with doing this. Still crazy after all these years. Very, very thankful to any and all who stop by for a bit of rambling. Many thanks, and as always, more tk….

Richard Hales says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:02 am

Congratulations Joe, well deserved. Your blog makes me smile and brightens up some dark times.

Karen B says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:13 am

Congrats to you, Joe, an honor that is very well deserved. Your thoughts and ramblings are enjoyed by so many of us. Thank you!

Garry says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:16 am

What I like is that you obviously know what you’re talking about at the highest level and yet, having met you, you’re a genuinely friendly, funny and (relatively!) normal guy :)
May there be many more ‘more tk’s

Steven Geer says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:16 am

Congrats Joe! Great stuff as always, very well deserved.

David McDonald says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:23 am

Huge congrats on the Blog Award Joe, no mean feat against that level of competition! – well deserved indeed.

Your new ‘Language of Light’ videos look great – although I’m more likely to buy if they were available on my iPad/iPhone rather than discs.
Any chance of these becoming available as videos via iTunes, or even a Joe McNally iOS app?


David McDonald says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:24 am

~ Oh yeah, any appearances in UK/Ireland scheduled at all?
Expect you’d have quite a few followers here.

Ta 😉

Scot says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:29 am

Very well deserved Joe, You are both entertaining and educational.. I love your style of writing

Christina A says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:31 am

Congratulations Joe, it’s well deserved.

Dwayne D.C. Tucker II says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:33 am

Awesomeness Joe! Been on your hustle for sometime and still loving it!


Henry Chau says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:34 am

Congratulations! your blog is a guide to light!

Jonathan says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:43 am

Well done Joe, congrats. love your blog, it’s nice to take a break and stop by your blog for another tail of your ramblings, light, humour and magic.
Thanks for all you do for all of us.

Neal says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:43 am

Congratulations Joe, I love your ramblings :-) They make sense to me!

Louis Pang says:

on June 7, 2011 at 6:55 am

Congrats man! All these years this is the only photo blog that I visit every week. It’s on my RSS feed and my heart skips a beat when I see a new post here. Keep it going!

Denis says:

on June 7, 2011 at 7:04 am

Congratulations Joe. Well deserved. I second the request above that you stop off in Ireland soon.

Stuart says:

on June 7, 2011 at 7:04 am

Well deserved too! …. great job Joe ….. keep up the inspirational and amusing blogs

Richard Jackson says:

on June 7, 2011 at 7:16 am

Your blog, much like your books, masterfully combines insight into the life and creative techniques of a seasoned professional photographer with humor and down-to-earth observations on life in general. As good as you are, you don’t take yourself too seriously, always throwing in a touch of self-deprecating humor that makes you come across as a real human being. This makes your work so approachable for the average photog.

Your blog is always an enjoyable read, and well-deserved of the award. Congratulations.

Tim Skipper says:

on June 7, 2011 at 7:36 am

Congrats Joe, it is well deserved.

Alessandro Di Noia says:

on June 7, 2011 at 7:36 am

Congratulation! You’re great!

Just finished reading your book (The hotshoe diaries) and found it amazing and surprisingly…funny!

See ya soon! (at least, hope so!)

David Kelly says:

on June 7, 2011 at 7:43 am

Many congrats on the achievement Joe, which surely is good confirmation that your ‘ramblings’ are very much understood and appreciated around the globe 😉

Irjohn Junus says:

on June 7, 2011 at 7:57 am


Those who shouted that word at you in the past were right. Congrats!

Steve L says:

on June 7, 2011 at 8:08 am

Congratulations. Absolutely deserved!
Your blog is entertaining and inspirational.
Keep goin’!!

Virginia Bonesteel says:

on June 7, 2011 at 8:16 am

Bravo, Joe! As a former student (one of the Kebob Krew) I can attest that you are just as sharing, funny and skilled in person as you are in your blog.

Bill Bogle Jr. says:

on June 7, 2011 at 8:26 am


Great award. Well deserved. Yours is a must read. I must say it is a great achievement for the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, that it took thirty years to accomplish, but you are now known for your journalistic writing skills! Who’d a thunk it?


Ellen Price says:

on June 7, 2011 at 8:34 am

That’s fabulous and well deserved! Your blog is ust like you, very educational and highly entertaining!!!

JerseyStyle Photography says:

on June 7, 2011 at 8:37 am

Well done, sir, well done. Always one of favorite reads and views. Thanks for the friendship and inspiration over the years and miles. ~ Mark

Chris Ward says:

on June 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

I know that you originally trained as a writer and I think it shows. I don’t know how hard it is for you to write, but the words feel like they just flow out of you. I’ve met you a couple of times now and this blog and your writing feel like a direct extention of you. I very much appreciate your ramblings and thoughts on the photography world, your part in it, and of the people whose pictures you take.

Always entertaining and informative, often educational, and sometimes inspiring.

Glad your rambling,
Chris, Mpls

Alessandro Rosa says:

on June 7, 2011 at 8:44 am

Congratulations Joe. Sometimes I think that you are far too modest for your own good. Besides being an amazing photographer you are also a very thoughtful observer of the human condition. You are a great storyteller, both in pictures and in words. There is also a generosity that you exhibit which I think is why so many respect you and love you.

Jonas says:

on June 7, 2011 at 8:53 am

congrats Joe!

Kerry says:

on June 7, 2011 at 8:55 am

Right on, Joe! Write On!!!

neil rasnick says:

on June 7, 2011 at 9:23 am

congrats, well done

remy says:

on June 7, 2011 at 9:29 am

Joe this is fantastic. You also made my top 11 list of photo blogs as well, although being honored by Life Magazine is a bit more prestigious – thank you for being an inspiration to alot of us aspiring photographers – hoping to find our own path thru 35 years of shooting! Congrats!
Remy Gervais, 8 Women Dream.

Andree says:

on June 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

Congratulations! They realized you’re one of the best.

John Swarce says:

on June 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

Congrats Joe! It’s about time someone gave you some recognition. :) Love to read your blog! But I’m still trying to figure out what “more tk” stands for…..


Andy Kämpf says:

on June 7, 2011 at 9:40 am

Congratulations Joey!
you well deserve it!

I own your book and visit your wonderful blog frequently.
Keep up the good work!

Cheers, Andy

Deb Hollister says:

on June 7, 2011 at 9:44 am

Congratulations! They made a brilliant choice…your blog is always a joy to read.

Al says:

on June 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

Joe, well deserved. Your blog is one that I go to everyday, not only for photo inspiration, but also inspiration on being a better person. The saying that the “camera sees both ways” clearly applies to you. Who you are as a person, and the heart that you have, is reflected in your work. Keep it coming …….

Shreeny Rengarajan says:

on June 7, 2011 at 9:59 am

Congratulations Joe. Very well deserved.

Paul Howard says:

on June 7, 2011 at 10:01 am

Wowzers! Awesome, Joe! Completely deserving.
I keep telling my wife that, when I grow up, I want to be just like you.
She keeps reminding me I’m 53.
Will the real numnuts please stand up. Sigh.

Charlie McDonald says:

on June 7, 2011 at 10:03 am

I am not surprised Mr. McNally :) I’ve not even heard of those other blogs. Keep writing please :)

Ana Alicea says:

on June 7, 2011 at 10:10 am

CONGRATULATIONS Mr. McNally ~ it’s fabulous that TIME selected your Blog as a winner; you deserve it!!! I always look forward to reading your Blogs ~ they are FUN and INFORMATIVE ~ THANK YOU and keep them coming ;~)

Ray says:

on June 7, 2011 at 10:45 am

Congratulations Joe! As all above have mentioned it’s well deserved. I had the pleasure of taking one of your Dobbs Ferry workshops and it’s been one of the highlights of my photographic journey.

John Fowler says:

on June 7, 2011 at 10:56 am

They got it right – Joe McNally’s blog IS such a treat! Thanks Joe.

John says:

on June 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

Two things pull me out of a Twitter scan immediately : a breaking international news story and Joe McNally tweeting, “Just posted a new blog….”

Congrats on this achievement.

Abhijit Bhatlekar says:

on June 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Heartiest Congratulations, dear Joe. Your blog is my Bible.

Jack Flemmings says:

on June 7, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Awesome Joe! You inspire and more often touch many of us. Deepest of thanks. Well deserved acknowledgement. Kudos.

Also, good to see that Anne is at Adorama. They are the first place I look to buy new stuff.

God bless and keep you both and again thanks…….. -JxF

Libby says:

on June 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Life nailed why I read your blog – it is indeed a love letter to your craft. Congratulations, Joe! Well deserved!

Johan Sopiee says:

on June 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Congrats!! You’re my inspiration!

Gary Jackson says:

on June 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Well deserved Joe! Thanks for giving so much back to photographers and photography. I appreciate it. Oh yeah and I keep telling my girlfriend that a C-Stand in the living room can also double as a lamp. :)

Doug Ford says:

on June 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Congratulations. My favorite thing I’ve learned from your site is to have fun while I’m taking my photography very seriously. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Henrique says:

on June 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Well deserved. You have a voice that is informative, funny, inspiring and entertaining!

Kim J says:

on June 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Congrats Joe!!! Well deserved! I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your work. Amazing!

Andrew Macpherson says:

on June 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Congratulations, but it’s no surprise to your regular readers, they already have you on their “exceptional” list.

Mike Neale says:

on June 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Congrats, Joe,…amid this industry of pseudointellects and malcontents,…it’s an honor to have been tutored by the one who is not! You never drank the kool-aid,…for that you are our guru,…LIFE was fortunate to have had you on their team.

Well deserved indeed!


Bill Wittman says:

on June 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Thanks for your evidence that life is all about relationships. A camera in hand – with a conversation – is a good resource to engage others… and have LIFE recognize you!

Jim Child says:

on June 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Holy Cow another in the long list of accomplishments for Mr. Joe Mcnally. It is well deserved!

Leif says:

on June 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Huge congratulations from my heart – you really worth it!!!

Esam kabli says:

on June 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm

It is really a daylight full time of the day when we can steel some mints
with you wonderful blog..
Keep it coming!!

Jay Mann says:

on June 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm


Congratulations, definitely well deserved. A new blog is always a highlight in my day. Sometimes it makes me laugh out loud, sometimes I want to cry, either way I am always inspired to improve my craft.
Your down to earth approach to this crazy thing called photog has greatly influenced my work. I will always remember shooting in the powerplant in Iceland, I was working a shot and you asked to see my screen. Your comment was ” #/#&*! Jay! that’s the same lighting you used on the last model, go up the front and see what you can do with that hard light coming in from those high windows!!” It was the kick in the #ss I needed. My images have made a step change since then.


Mitch says:

on June 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Congratulations, Joe! Your blog updates are like gold and I look forward to every one. Having a camera in my hand makes me learn how to take pictures, this blog reminds me WHY I take pictures, and that is the most important part!

Colinwalks says:

on June 8, 2011 at 12:07 am

I can’t hink of anyone more deserving, congratulations. I love your blog, thanks for sharing so openly.

Bob says:

on June 8, 2011 at 12:46 am agrees with us. Nice.

Kris Mitchell says:

on June 8, 2011 at 3:19 am

Congrats, but FYI – the “Lens” link doesn’t work – it takes you to “” – it’s missing the “L” in “lens”

cheers eh?

Gordon Fraser says:

on June 8, 2011 at 3:27 am

congratulations indeed. I love your writing as much as your photography. It’s heartfelt and it shows. Every new post you put up here is a treat and I can’t wait for the next one.

Andy says:

on June 8, 2011 at 4:02 am

Congrats Joe. We’re not surprised you won, just happy :)

David Alan Harvey says:

on June 8, 2011 at 4:31 am

Hey Joe

I sure wish I could see more of you. Remembering always your good spirit and expertise which you obviously share with the same enthusiasm and love you always did.

My sincere congratulations to you for the Life award and for just being Joe.

Cheers, David

Ian Loomes says:

on June 8, 2011 at 4:39 am

Congratulations Joe. Very well deserved – keep up the great work. I check your blog every day waiting for a new post.

NicolasFeret says:

on June 8, 2011 at 6:56 am

well deserved :)

Photographick says:

on June 8, 2011 at 8:58 am

Congrats! I always ready your blog and love the tidbits of knowledge and love the way you write. Loving the new work, love you on the flashbus tour and can’t wait for what’s next to come. Thank you for all the inspiration!

Steve Wylie says:

on June 8, 2011 at 10:22 am

Let me just add my congrats, too. Your blog is a daily treat. You’re as good a writer as you are a photographer, and that’s saying a lot.

Scott Frederick says:

on June 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Congrats to you Joe!

Rick Freschner says:

on June 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Congrats Joe! From someone who follows your blog religiously and tries to attend every seminar you give in my area, it’s certainly no surprise. Hope you keep it going for many more years!

David Hessell says:

on June 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm


Just the fact that I’m what? Like the 71st person to congratulate you and wish you well …

Well … that says it all. I look forward to the next one …

Thank you,


Bogdan says:

on June 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Right on!

Peter MacDonald says:

on June 8, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Congratulations too Joe. You deserve the recognition. Your articles are always a treat when they bob up. I am often quite moved by some of the articles you write. I am obviously not the only one. Best wishes

Nikki says:

on June 9, 2011 at 10:53 am

I agree with the others, no surprise but congrats! My first stop in the morning is always here.

Ray says:

on June 9, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Congrats Joe!
I never miss any of your “rambling thoughts”!

Love ya!


Jaber says:

on June 14, 2011 at 5:20 am

Congrats Joey !!!!

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