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Radcollector.com: Columns | Laura Austin | decent exposure: BRENDAN MCINERNEY

Laura Austin

decent exposure: BRENDAN MCINERNEY

01 March 2010, 18.23 | Posted in Decent Exposure, Photography | 1 comment »


My last few interviews have been based around snowboard photographers, but this interview strays away from that a bit. I met Brendan a few years back at some college party in Burlington, VT. He would always be the kid walking around the parties with a camera in his hand, snapping random shots throughout the night. I started checking out his stuff to make sure that there wasn’t anything embarrassing of me from the night before and realized the guy had talent. Since then I have been keeping tabs on him, watching his photos progressively get better, and he recently moved to New York City, where he is pursuing a career as a photographer… some might refer to this as “killin it”. Check out his site to see more of his work. TheAngryPenguin.ORG


The man himself. Brendan McInerney.

Place you call home:

Then, Kents Hill Maine – Now, NYC


What is it like working/coming up as a photographer in New York City? Is it a little fish, big pond situation?

New York City to me, is definitely a little fish big pond situation. I come from rural Maine, so this place is the exact opposite of home. Unless you have some serious connections here, its a wake up call in terms of making a living. The range of wealth here is also fucked up, one neighborhood is extremely poor, and down the street are multimillion dollar lofts. Plus, you might walk by someone on the street shooting with a 20,000 dollar Mamiya camera, and you can’t help but be envious. I think I just had to come to terms with the fact that we all come from various financial backgrounds, and that’s life.


Tell me about the company you are working for now? How did you get involved with them?

Right now I’m working for Mighty Healthy. They are a skateboarding/streetwear company born and raised in NYC. The founders Ray and Denis grew up skating with some of the most respected people in skateboarding, so  legend class skateboarders are coming by all the time. My friend Kashia was working with Mighty when I came to NY to visit, and hooked me up with a gig shooting some photos for them. It was funny, she said I was just going to shoot some shirts on some of her guy friends, and then she calls me the morning of, and was like, “Oh yeah, you’re actually going to be shooting Gino”. (Iannucci). So that was wild for me. Mighty has taken me to LA, Tampa and Vegas in the last 4 months, so I really can’t complain about traveling and shooting photos of people I grew up idolizing. Like in LA, we were at a Matix clothing party, just having drinks with Mike Mo (Capaldi), Jeron (Wilson), Mike (Carrol), Vance (Capaldi) and Guy (Mariano). And you realize they’re just skate kids like you, they’re just fucked up good at skateboarding. It’s hard to imagine meeting these guys, let alone shooting the shit with them, when you’re 13 skating flat ground in the middle of Maine, that’s all.


You went to Champlain College (in Burlington, VT) for graphic design right? Is your education you received there relevant to what you are doing now? You happy you went?

I am very happy I went to Champlain, I have some amazing friends I owe to that place. At Mighty I am the head photographer and the second graphic designer, and *personally*, I think the education I got from Champlain is completely relevant to what I am doing now. I say “personally” because I know people that say college was a waste of money and time, but realistically it comes down to how much you’re going to apply yourself afterwards. I mean look at kids like Aaron Blatt and Laura Austin, you don’t see them bitching about how unfair college was, because they are too busy working their asses off doing what they love. “If the winds not blowing, row your fucking boat.”


You came out of an area (Burlington, VT) where most kids who wants to be photographers turn to snowboarding, what led got you interested in shooting fashion?

I think its fair to say that people shoot what they care about, and over time what they care about changes. My interest in photography has always been in people, and people do all kinds of wild shit, they skateboard, they snowboard, they dress up in all kinds of outfits. I just like learning about new stuff, and I didn’t know anything about fashion before I came here. Its pretty crazy…A good example would be The X Games and Project Runway. They both do almost no justice to the things they are making a profit from (as far as exposing what it is really all about). I mean, how many people know who Shaun White and Tony Hawk are, but have never heard of Scott Stevens or PJ Ladd?

Photo with the best story behind it:


A few months ago I was shooting a party at some ballin ass club in midtown Manhattan. There were big ol patron bottles and champagne popping off at like 3 am (Aaron Blatt would have loved it). And somewhere in this jungle of thick beats and lights, some girls got their drinks knocked to the ground, complete with shards of glass etc. And instead of getting all pissed the girls’s friends just threw down their glasses and started that infamous dance-off type circle. I figured at least 5 people were going to the hospital, but they just didn’t give a shit, and just went nuts. So this photo was in the heat of that moment…

Some say print is dying… do you agree?

Nah, have something you made printed, it looks cooler.

Natural Sunlight or Flashes?

You gotta understand both, but natural sunlight is the best, no question.


Black and White or color?

Black and White.
Everyone can already see in color.

What’s your favorite thing to shoot?

Anything pushing perfect geometry, be it women, sports, nature or architecture


The most played out thing in photography right now-

The Holga camera, and wasting Polaroid film
(unless you are Gerry Webber)

Favorite photographer outside of snowboarding:

I have a few…
Robert Doisneau -life
James Nachtwey -war
Federico Erra – women


Do you think that people either have a good eye or they don’t…. or can someone learn how to become a good photographer?

This is a hard one. Like with sports, I think you need to have something deep in your brain that just understands it, because if you don’t it will show, no matter how many classes you take. With that said, I know tons of people who would be amazing photographers, but they just never got into it…


What kind of projects are you working on now?

I’m actually trying to shoot skating more. There’s so many good skaters in New York, it seems dumb not to bring my camera when we go skate. I’m also trying to shoot some fashion/modeling type stuff. It’s good to learn about all sides of you craft.


What’s next?

Try and take better photos, and do more photo work so I can get a house in NYC where all my idiot friends can come stay…

1 comment
  1. leigh:

    high fives!

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