Jennifer McClure's "You Who Never Arrived"

David J. Carol


I love nothing more than a photographer that shows us parts of themselves with their photographs. The more the images reveal, the more we know about the artist. I feel the best work shows truth and honesty.

Jennifer McClure shows us who she is, who she was, and maybe a preview into who she is becoming. Don't pass by these photos too quickly, they tell a very personal and candid story. Not many people are willing or brave enough to show their darker side. Take a look at the photographs and read the words of Jennifer McClure. She is telling us her truth.

The first time I saw your photos from "You Who Never Arrived" two thoughts immediately went through my mind: First, this is one honest, brave, and skillful photographer and second, is she a filmmaker shooting stills for a movie idea? Well, which is it?

I'm definitely not a filmmaker, but I love the idea that each picture is part of a larger narrative happening just outside the frame. I had a series of failed relationships that I needed to explore. I wanted to find out what was wrong with all of the men I chose. We recreated the specifics of the individual conflicts as best we could, so that part was honest. By the end of it, of course, I realized that I was the problem. All of my issues became glaringly obvious, and I felt sheepish and surprised more than brave. I might not have started this had I known that would happen.

You've told me you're not an actress, but in every photo you look authentic and fully in the moment. How did you prepare yourself and what is your thought process before each shot?

I thought a lot about the dynamics of each relationship, about how we talked to and treated each other. I tried to remember who I was at that point in time. I shot alone in the hotel rooms before the men arrived, with them, and again after they left. We usually had conversations as if we were these characters, though that was never part of the plan. The interaction itself was emotional, and I just made sure I had the camera around at all times. I especially shot when I didn't feel like it, when I was exhausted and hurt.

Tell me about how you selected the locations and the actors for this series.

I shot in hotel rooms, because I wanted the locations to look as temporary and impersonal as these relationships felt. I started out in the Chelsea Hotel, where all the rooms carried a faded glory and a bit of seediness. I did some at pay-by-the-hour motels, some at tricked-up fancy places, a few at average nondescript hotels. I tried to match the room to the mood. I mostly asked friends to shoot with me, but they had to be people I trusted and who were willing to play.

You're given a 6 month time frame and unlimited funds to go to four locations anywhere in the world. What locations would you choose, and what would you do there?

I would drive around Iceland for a month, scuba dive in the Maldives for a couple of weeks, and lounge in a hammock in Tahiti for a couple more. Then I would travel all around Florida, which is the closest thing I have to a home, and photograph all of its strangeness for the remainder.

Final question ... Select one from each pairing: Dogs-Cats, Mountains-Beach, Steak-Lobster, Fast-Slow, Baseball-Football, Night-Day, Happy-Content, Enter-Leave and finally Now-Never.

Cats. Beach. Steak. Slow. Baseball. Night. Content. Leave. Now.



PDN August 2016: The Fine-Art Photography Issue



Tout VTS


Tout VTS


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