Jake (Cowboy Slant), 2008, Ryan McGinley The gift of McGinley’s to curate magical moments is part of his work’s splendour. Like Mapplethorpe, McGinley would document the truth; he was not a poseur. A student of Parson’s School of Design, McGinley socialised in Lower East Side, New York, an area which spliced subcultures. It was here that his ratpack circle of friends - skaters, gays, club kids - would coalesce. Taking these friends out to the caves to explore meant he was still amongst real companions, just in an alien environment - which as we can see, harvested inimitable imagery. ‘Well, that’s the thing with a lot of my friends downtown. All these subcultures are mixing. You have skaters hanging out with club kids, hanging out with fags, hanging out with graffiti artists. No one really cares anymore, at least in the city. It’s not like it used to be. Even 10 years ago, if you had mentioned the word “gay” or “homosexual” in the terms of skateboarding or graffiti, people would look at you like you were fucking crazy. But nowadays, everyone’s hanging out together, and I think that maybe my photography helps that out a little bit.’ - Ryan McGinley, Conversations on Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art with Larry Clark and Sylvia Wolf, 25 March 2003.