Period Mag #12: Philip McElory

Being a working graphic designer for over 5 years (and still counting!), it’s not unusual seeing my works in the real world; whether it’s a logo on an awning, or product packaging in some young teenager’s Instagram post. While it’s still exciting seeing these ideas approved by client and realized, it’s not surprising—I have a master’s degree in graphic design, and am currently working at a legit agency—these outputs are expected from someone with such education and professional history.

Photography, on the other hand, I stumbled into with no prior experience. It’s a humbling journey, from not even having qualified photos to open a ModelMayhem account (Do people still use that service?), to constantly receiving rejections from models when asking for collaboration. Now almost 22 months in, my photography work is finally starting to resonate with people. Which bring us to model/actor Philip McElory.

Philip is one of the few models that have came along for the ride from the beginning. Connected through ModelMayhem, our first shoot was back in December 2015, just months after I committed to shooting at a steady schedule. He was my first experience with an agency-signed model, and I was relieved to find out he was a-ok with all the random things/requests I tested on him, including using a mirror as prop.

More than a year later, we came together again in early 2017, when I was experimenting with a series of narrative-inspired shoots—once again Philip’s capability to improvise and react to my sometimes abstract instructions came through—this time his was accompanied by donuts.

Somehow all stars aligned with that shoot, and this particular set of photos ended up being extremely popular on social medias (one image still holds the record of being the most liked photo on my Instagram feed)—obviously his ‘princely’ good look (a term repeatedly seen in the comments) played a major role.

The photo set was also featured on Period Magazine’s website—with its proven popularity there, the magazine actually reached out to Philip for an interview feature in their next print edition, and I was more than happy to collaborate for the third time to get some neat shots, filling out the feature. Pretty much a tradition at this point, again we tested out some new ideas, and through it all I learned he is actually afraid of height.

Just earlier this week—the printed issue arrived in my mailbox. It is a surreal feeling seeing my photos represented with inks, and sit on actual paper; maybe it’s my association with printing within my graphic design profession, where nothing is ‘real real’ until it has been mass-produced and made appearance in physical forms. I’m grateful for what this photography journey has been so far, for models I can reach out to when I have the most odd ideas, and for them being game in participating and realizing them.

You can order your copy of Period Magazine here.

Period Mag: Jerry Raines

Happy to see another set of photos being featured on! Titled Morning Grey, these images were created with model Jerry Raines (Neal Hamil Agency, Houston, TX), during his recent trip to LA. I recommended myself back when Jerry sent out a ‘LA photographers, let’s collab’ message; as we got to talking during the shoot, I found out the roster of photographers he had lined up, and it made me both extremely proud and nervous. 

Proud because I was most likely the least experienced of the bunch, and yet I still made the list. At the same time I was nervous because now I know who my work will be judged against—so I better bring my A game! We shot during a typical Southern California’s ‘June Gloom’ morning; the overcast sky, while rather depressing to wake up to, was a nice neutral backdrop for me to exercise my obsession with lines and angles.

I hope models wouldn’t mind me start posting wacky, ‘blooper moment’ photos—certainly made me appreciate the amount of effort they pour in to create perfect moments for me to capture, and that behind all the color-corrected, polished photos they are just regular human beings like the rest of us, who have no clue what to do on the horizontal bars!

You can check out the rest of this web-editorial here.

Possibly My Most-seen Work so Far

So Gabe Witmer texted me the image below the other day; one of the many agencies that rep him (and I mean many—as you shall see very soon) has used a photo we created during our shoot back in April as his comp card front! 

That shoot was definitely the highlight of my short photography career so far—everything just clicked, and it was smooth sailing from start to finish. (You can read more about how we, rather randomly, decided to collaborate on Gabe’s blog entry)

At this point, I’ve already seen images from this shoot being reposted on Instagram numerous times; out of curiosity, I did a reverse Google Images search to see where else on the web this particular image has shown up:


… Isn’t this insanity?! From the scattered conversation we had between shots I learned Gabe is very dedicated to his career—and you can clearly tell by how many connections he has, and how updated he’s keeping with each one of them! I feel very honored to be able to tag along for the ride—hopefully a Round 2 with Gabe is not too far down the road!

The photo shoot, titled A.M., is featured in Stark Magazine. You can check it out here

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