Masego captured by Jack McKain
1. The Best Things Aren’t Premeditated.
Never underestimate the power of surprising yourself. I’ve spent the last year understanding the concept of trying to try less. This exercise in presence brought me into contact with the gifted photographer Jack McKain who has made going with the flow and always being water no matter the situation his way of life. Jack would rather just let it happen.
Originally from Fairfax, Virginia Jack became the designer and publisher behind the publication Modern Hieroglyphics magazine. Now as a bi-coastal freelance photographer he’s spread his wings even further, Jack has documented some of the most interesting and wide range of established and up and coming artists in in music (from DUCKWRTH to Willow Smith) in his new book CLIN D’OEIL (which is French for wink, or blink of an eye). Come to find out even the cover of the book itself was an impromptu photo shoot with Sunni Colon.
Sunni Colon captured by Jack McKain
2. Know Your Worth
Knowing your worth begins with believing in your work and knowing that it is worth celebrating. It is also knowing that your worth isn’t tied to your work, you exist beyond it. Let just let you know straight out the gate Jack book “Clin D’oeil”: Vol.One is being sold for $100. It’s worth it, why? Well, quality isn’t free, art is an investment and Jack is letting you know this is his works starting price. You have to respect that. I’m telling you in the words of the great American philosopher Yasiin Bey “ya’ll better get his rookie card now because after this year I guarantee the price isn’t going down.”
Selah Marley captured by Jack McKain
3. Don’t be Afraid to Mix Friends
Don’t be afraid to change scenes and surround yourself with people outside of your algorithm. Jack has his ear and eye on the pulse of art that isn’t just his homies. Less nepotism will lead to a broader network of support. Anyone who was in attendance of the CLIN D’OEIL release can confirm it was like walking into a room of your entire Instagram feed. If you didn’t know the person standing next to you, you should. So many levels and Venn diagrams of different hues and mediums of beauty and art forms. Whether you did film or fashion or music, you were there immersed in each others company. It led me to the conclusion that Jack and his art attracted so many different walks of life. We were all beautiful buffets on a plate and Jack got us here by letting his food touch.
Jesse Boykins iii captured by Jack McKain
4. Support Your Community….
… And your community will support you. Don’t support your community SO that they will support you, that’s moving with expectations, fear, and scarcity. Jack’s work remains raw yet brings out the best version of who he is capturing. The reason all these artists, musicians, writers and creative people made this trek and stood in line to support Jack is that his work and presence has supported them in some way even if he has never shot them. We all understand the documentarian is as important as who or what is being documented.
Yuna captured by Jack McKain
5. If You Are Going To Do It Do it IMAX / Create Your Context.
If you pull up presenting your work haft hearted “trying” to be humble, we can tell. Let’s be completely claro Jack had one space for the mingling and an entirely separate room in the back just for viewing. In the viewing room, your ears were sprinkled with gentle yet fitting music dedicated to creating a more cinematic viewing of the portraits. Each portrait projected on the wall each was 7 x 12 ft. and there were 5 at a time that filled the walls. The presentation was as epic as the work. Jack could have had his book release in a coffee shop or even Art Share (no shade) but Jack chose to create his own context and let you know this is bigger than rap. This work deserves to be seen and even if you didn’t buy a book you were given an experience.
‘Till next time, I’m still out here learning stuff,
-d e f