Moomah the Magazine
GIRL CRUSH: Photographer Rachel McGinn

GIRL CRUSH: Photographer Rachel McGinn

My younger colleagues have made themselves breathless trying to explain the value of social media to me. If all the sugar and spice of their attempts were stripped away, I would hear something like, "Hey, Grandma, it's 2013! Technology is passing you by. It's your friend...really, just reach out and touch it...TOUCH IT!!!" And so it is with great remorse that I admit, we found an incredible photographer named Rachel McGinn through Pinterest. You know how it goes...we started following her, she started following us. She wrote nice things to us, we wrote nice things back to her. Oh, it all happens so fast. We started crushing on her.

As we looked through her photo gallery, a mix of children, food and lifestyle, we were hypnotized by the sensitivity in her work: her images exude both a feeling of quiet calm, and yet each is completely bursting with color and life. We love her beachy & gauzy pairings of children and still-life shots, and are in awe of how she is able to capture an ordinary moment and turn it into something beautiful. After you read her interview and see her work, we believe you'll have a new crush as well.

 

Rachel was born and raised outside of Philadelphia. She is the youngest of three with a large age gap between siblings and a mother who worked full time. This meant she was constantly entertaining herself as a kid. She would get very creative—singing into tape recorders and listening back on her recordings proudly. She would watch Bob Ross and beg for an easel and fan brushes to make "happy little trees"; she would act out scenes from late night movies and perform them in the front hall for any family member willing to watch—Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest was always a crowd pleaser.

Then, at 13, her mother gave her a camera. A Pentax K1000 that still sits on her shelf today. From that moment on, she was hooked. She would make backdrops out of wool blankets and make her brother and his friends pose for her. Her first portraits. She had found her passion.

After graduating from an all-girls private catholic school, she (regrettably) forwent attending a glamorous photography school, and instead selected a college based on how fun the dance parties were in the fraternity basements. Gettysburg College was the choice. She had a blast.

One summer, she accepted an internship at the J.Crew catalog. One out of about ten who were placed in Catalog Creative, she was the proud manager of the sample closet, literally spending her summer buried in cashmere v necks and barn jackets—folding clothing, packing trunks for shoots, shopping for "prop kits" and steaming clothes in location vans, whilst loving every single minute of it.

Her favorite part was observing photographers on shoots and awaiting the reveal of the first Polaroid-snap, understanding why they chose certain light… It was during this time that it clicked: she loved photography. She loved imagery. She loved those Polaroids. She kept her internship at J.Crew and eventually found herself working as a fashion editor.

Rachel met her husband on an Amtrak train heading into Penn Station. “I stalked him from a few cars back and married him three years later. He is also a very visual person, an amazing artist who inspires me every day. We joke that two creative minds do not make for the most organized and practical life, but oh well—it’s a pretty one!”

 

Rachel was still working at J.Crew when she became pregnant with her first daughter. Though she loved being a mother, she knew there was “more to herself than neatly packed diaper bags and boring shoes.” She needed an outlet.“Shooting children’s portraits was the perfect job for me as it allowed for a flexible schedule. I marketed myself by photographing at playgroups and playgrounds. My name spread by word of mouth, and I quickly had a great list of clients. I now have three beautiful, funny and yes, artistic children. Our kitchen table is constantly littered with markers and paper, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I try as best as I can to balance work and motherhood, but it isn't always easy. I spend way too much time on Pinterest and blogs, hoping I'll be that cool one day. Maybe someone will read this and think that about me!”

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOURSELF?

I like that I don't take myself too seriously. I love to dance at parties, and I don't care who is watching. I go to get coffee in my old Gap slippers early in the morning, I sing loudly with my kids in the car and the windows down. I was not always like this. I was very shy as a child, but life experience, good friends and an awesome family equals confidence.

WHAT IS SOMETHING SIMPLE THAT GIVES YOU BIG PLEASURE?

Kids wearing 3D glasses. We recently took our three kids to see Life of Pi. I love looking over at them with awkward plastic glasses slipping off their noses and their little mouths wide open in amazement. Priceless

WHAT ARE YOUR PET PEEVES?

Bacon grease left in a pan on the stove when I haven't cooked it—do I still need to pour it in an old coffee can like my parents did? And people who end sentences with "no?" For example- "We are meeting today, no?

WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT TRAITS FOR YOU IN A MATE?

Aside from good looking and loaded? Seriously, a great sense of humor. My husband is the funniest guy I know. We laugh, really belly laugh with tears once a day. That is what makes our relationship so great.

WHAT ARE YOU TOTALLY IMPRESSED BY?

Children with good manners. Especially young boys. Nothing makes me smile more than a boy who shakes my hand, looks me in the eye and says nice to meet you.

IN WHAT WAYS ARE YOU LIKE YOUR MOTHER? IN WHAT WAYS ARE YOU NOT?

In almost every way!  I'll plan to organize but instead spend the day looking through files of the kids’ artwork and make a bigger mess. I sit in my car even if I've reached my destination to finish listening to a beautiful piece of classical music, and most of all I yell at my kids for watching too much of that "damned idiot box" called a TV! I cannot, however, finish a NY Times Magazine crossword puzzle.  Nor have I ever attempted and never will.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF DAY?

Between 6 and 7 am. The house is quiet, coffee is brewing, no one is awake.

WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU DO THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO STOP DOING?

Wishing for the next "thing". I feel I've missed too many important moments hoping for something else.

DO YOU HAVE A HIDDEN TALENT?

I can make my self sneeze with a piece of uncooked capellini.

WHAT'S THE BEST PART ABOUT DOING WHAT YOU DO?

Making people happy. I have the ability to freeze time with my camera. I can also surprise people by making them see something as beautiful when they thought it never was. I recently hosted a photo workshop for young girls. It was so great seeing how inspired they were. I love that my work appealed to them, and that they were able to spend the afternoon away from their Iphones and laptops!

 

View Rachel's Website >>
View Rachel's Pinterest >>

 

 

 

  

  

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Recent Comments

Devon Haire said…

I loved reading this Q&A with Rachel!  She is off the charts talented and so much fun to work with!

Beke Beau said…

Love her….

Tristan B. said…

I loved the back story and it’s always nice to hear more about the ‘behind the scenes’ of the artist.

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