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.

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