Already the leader of a mega-successful photo agency, the author of five photography books, and most recently, the founder of PMc Magazine, iconic New York nightlife photographer Patrick McMullan is still looking to expanding his portfolio. His latest endeavor? Curating a selection of photographs for a digital showcase on the façade of the InterContinental Miami hotel during Art Basel Miami Beach. We caught up with McMullan post-Basel to discuss those images, his own quasi-celebrity status, and tips for aspiring party photographers.
What about the InterContinental Miami project appealed to you? How did you select the images?
PATRICK MCMULLAN: The 12 images were meant to be non-person pics that had a flair and an artistic look. They were some of my favorite images and I got to 12 fast.
What do you look for when you're out in the trenches shooting socialites and stars? What makes a great party photo?
PM: A great party photograph has interesting people wearing interesting clothes and shows people having fun! It also makes you do a double take.
You've become quite a celebrity in your own right. How does that suit you?
PM: I'm hardly a celebrity, but I am a fun guest and I do keep moving around. Since I've been everywhere and met everyone, I guess people find me interesting.
What are the trademarks of a good nightlife photographer?
PM: Today anyone and everyone can be a photographer! All you need is a camera, or even a phone will do. I think it is always best to let people know you want to take a picture, for best results, but candids are so much fun. It's also good to tell them how the camera works in case it's a slow shutter.
How have Instagram and social media changed how people perceive and share photos?
PM: Well, it makes more possibilities, and a good picture is fun to share. Professionals have a lot more work to do such as naming and cropping, etc. I live photography 24/7. I dream of taking pictures, too.
What's next for you in 2013?
PM: A book on the club kids of the early 1990s; my book So8os (So Eighties) is celebrating its tenth anniversary so I might come out with another version with more pics. I am updating my website, which will be great when it's done. And I've been asked to do [fashion] shows in Moscow and in Miami.