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Courtesy Ron McGinnis
Ron McGinnis cardinal
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Courtesy Ron McGinnis
Ron McGinnis portrait
A Family Legacy
Photography is in his blood.
Ron McGinnis, a lifelong Fair Grove resident, creates art by many different means, but what he really loves is photography. The love affair began with 8- by 10-inch film with his father and father’s cousin, a then renowned black-and-white photographer.
“They were instrumental in getting me started in it,” Ron says. “We had a dark room in the house. A lot of what I learned was from the old, huge cameras. It’s incredible what we can do now on something half the size.”
Ron’s zest for photography continues today in the digital age, but this change in technology doesn’t mean a change in technique. “Just because it’s a new camera doesn’t mean you can’t shoot old school,” Ron says. “No matter what camera you’ve got, it’s still just a box with a hole.”
Ron hasn’t always been a professional photographer. After years of construction work and a job creating archery targets, Ron made fiberglass sculptures for Bass Pro Shops and later for Great Fish Reproduction Studios. Although it was somewhat artistic, it wasn’t enough for Ron. “I can paint a million sailfish and it will still be a sailfish,” Ron says, “but with photography everything’s a little different every time you push the shutter.”
Ron has photographed everything from vivid nature shots to storytelling portraits, but what he does the most of is rodeo, especially the riders. “Every time they come out of that gate, there’s something different happening,” Ron says.
But as much as he loves the unpredictable, fast pace of the rodeo, black-and-white fine art photography will always be his favorite, particularly portraits. Several of these are of a longtime friend of Ron’s, writer Dan Manning of Fair Grove. The definition in the facial features and blend of light and dark create a story within each and every line and mark on the face, speaking volumes to the viewer.
“I love portraits of people who have had a rough life, or at least their faces show the wear of one,” Ron says. “He’s spent a lot of time in front of my camera, and I’ve won some contests with photos of him. He has such a photogenic face. He’s kind of like my secret weapon.”
Ron splits his time between photography and his “real job” helping out taxidermist Rick Lowry. “I earn about 50/50 between what I call my real job and my photography,” he says. “I make a living at it, but it’s not like I’m going to get rich off of it. Most of the people who buy the photos are the people who are in them. I have fun doing it, and they love to have them.”
Just as in any other compositions he has created, Ron wants his work to be emotionally involving. Whether the image is dark and touching or joyous and enlightening, he hopes to create an aesthetically pleasing image that connects to the audience.
“When people look at an image they feel something,” Ron says. “That’s what I want. Whether I accomplish that or not is the thousand dollar question, but that’s what I shoot for.”