Your queries please, says New York Times photo editor

Freelance photographers are settling their curiosity about working at the top by getting a media veteran’s view from the assistant managing editor of photography at The New York Times.

Michele McNally, who joined the Times in 2004 after over a decade as Fortune magazine’s photography director, will solve your queries in the paper’s latest e-chapter ‘Talk to the Newsroom.’

Photographers at all industry levels are firing an eclectic range of questions about ethical quandaries, to what equipment her photographers use, to how editors choose the best caption.

To pose a question to Michele McNally, please send it on email to

Young people yet to embark on photography career should be “forever curios, persistent and gracious,” she advises one curious reader.

“The most important work a young photographer can do is existential,” Ms McNally added.

“You must figure out what kind of photographer you want to be, what do you want to say and how are you going to do it better than others have done before you.”

Budding photographers should also be hard-working; ideally open-minded but crucially should ‘love what they do’ otherwise “the career of a photojournalist is a difficult one,” she warns.

Other Q&A threads reveal the Times’ editorial policies and the day-to-day goings-on at the paper, including McNally’s explanation why front page pictures can tenuously relate to the story lead.

She was promoted to assistant managing editor of photography at NYT one year ago, after just 12 months working as its director of photography.

Though her stint at NYT is her first job at a daily newspaper, Bill Keller, executive editor, has already commended her for bringing new “status” to the paper’s output of photojournalism.

“She has challenged all of us to look at the whole range of what photography can do, to be less conventional in our choices and use of pictures, to open our eyes and open our minds,” Keller wrote on an internal memo at the time of her promotion, according to the National Press Photographers Association.


14th July 2006

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