Ronan McKenzie is a young photographer based in London. Her time at university lasted only a few weeks after which she fell into styling and reached her end destination with an eye glued to her camera viewfinder.
The young enigmatic image maker has engraved her name on the slab of a cut-throat industry earing her merits with her diverse and authentic casting together with her individualized intimate portraiture. Taking on jobs from Wonderland, Vogue, American Apparel and SHOWStudio, it seems as though nothing can get in the way of this self-made photographer. More show stoppers that can be linked to her prowess is her debut exhibition ‘A Black Body’ held in 2015 at Doomed Gallery as well as the release of her own publication HARD EARS. The publication was released earlier this year and contains 300 pages featuring established and new on the block contributors alike. Featuring artists such as Nick Knight and Ruth Ossai this is only a fraction of what HARD EARS has in store.
When she’s not off shooting beauty images for i-D, Ronan continues her work on a personal series ‘Girls’ that goes back to the very beginning of her photographic practice. “Girls are the first people I shot when I started taking photos. It was my friends getting dragged into it or my Mum never being able to escape a photo. I guess at the beginning it was natural for me to shoot girls, I had clothes to dress them up in and for some reason thought that they’d be easier to connect with. Now, two years on and less gender biased, I’m still so interested in shooting girls because as a young woman myself, there is an instinctive connection that I have to other women and I find it a powerful thing to be able to document them in my own way,” Ronan expresses in an interview earlier this year with It’s Nice That.
As a photographer who is predominantly drawn to photographing and working with womxn myself, I agree with Ronan that there is an instinctive connection between femmes and that the work that is drawn from this connection is not only captivating but it’s a feeling that can only transpire from working within this narrative. Her series brings to light an invisible thread of trust that is established between herself and her sitters. Its emotion can only be described as deep sitting. Honesty and true reflection of her subjects is what Ronan values most. Her series, consisting of many photographs and many models speak of diversity and act as a study of Girl Culture today.
Authenticity. Naturalness. These are the basic fundamentals to understanding the lens of Ronan McKenzie. The young photographer has set herself a part with her emotive, intimate portraits based on what is really there – based on reality. Her portraiture though stylized still falls under the wing of documentary photography as she captures the lives and likenesses of girls around her. One can only hope that Ronan’s ‘Girls’ will act as a more authentic voice of a generation that that of Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’proclaims itself to be. Unfortunately, not ringing true to her own hopes, Lena’s ‘Girls’ was merely a depiction of the lives of white womxn and devoid of diversity. Therefore it cannot act as the voice of a generation.