Dan McCormack

WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION (PART 2)

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BIO & ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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GALLERY

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INTERVIEW

by Jennifer N. Seelig

 

Digital photographer Dan McCormack shoots portraits with black and white film in a homemade oatmeal-box pinhole camera. McCormack’s passion inspired him to teach photography at Marist College. His wife, Wendy, introduced him to nude photography and since then he had an interest for shooting nude portraits.

 

How did you know you wanted to be a photographer when you were growing up?

I started out in engineering and I was getting C’s and D’s. I would study for the exam the night before and do terrible. I went to the counseling center on campus and they said to consider a more creative major like photography. I figured, why not try it? I went to all the galleries and museums in Chicago, and I quickly became involved.

 

How did you meet your wife?

There was a love-in on the south shore on a beach in Chicago, so I knew there was going to be 70,000 hippies there. I had my camera and I was taking pictures of the beautiful scenery. Wendy, who is now my wife, noticed me. She came up and talked to me. I’m bragging how much I know about photography, and she levels me with one question. She asked me if I ever photographed a nude. I said no. She said, “I’ll have to teach you.” She was my first model. She introduced me to nude photography.

 

Who else in your family is into art?

Wendy is a potter. My oldest son is an architect. My second oldest is into web design. He’s the head of web design at his job. My daughter went to school as a painting major and got her bachelor's degree. She traveled to Europe numerous times. Once, she went to Switzerland to deliver Jeff Koons’s artwork. He’s a contemporary artist. My other daughter teaches creative writing to graduate students in South Dakota. All my children are into art. I never hid my artwork from them, I always had my nude work around the house.

 

Do you think your children appreciate photography because of you?

I had a show in New York and had a poster of my wife, an image of her nude. My younger son brought it with him when he moved into his college dorm. He hung it up and some kid down his hall came in and said, “Oh cool, I love porn!” My son said, “That’s my mom!” The guy turned green and had nothing to say. My kids were always involved in my work and shows.

 

How has your passion for photography changed over the years?

Photography changed because of technology, but I think my passion grew stronger. Digital cameras are not as good as the iPhone camera. I like to play with the panorama effect on my phone. Try shaking your camera up and down when you use it, it gets bizarre. I love bizarre. 

 

Are all your students at Marist College photography majors?

I have students in many different fields. I have fun with the business majors. My class is an opportunity for them to lighten up and be creative. They can take a break from their serious classes. I don’t think they have a lot of joy in mathematics.

Do you think anyone could be a photographer?

I had this one student who was an engineering major. He struggled so much in my class. Nothing seemed to work for him, but I noticed he worked really hard. When the class was over, I was happy for him. I gave him an A for his effort. Ten years later, I found out that student is teaching photography at a college in Colorado. I haven’t seen him since. I just recognized the name. It’s all about the passion you have for what you love.

 

What advice can you give your students who want to pursue a career in photography?

Believe in yourself. There’s no answer other than your own answer. Science and math is one answer, but in art the only answer is your answer. That’s a tough one to know.

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