Kevin A. Laughlin

Critique on Rod McLean's Online Portfolio

Based in San Francisco, CA, Rod McLean is an advertising photographer who has shot for clients ranging from Oakley to the Oakland A's to the US Army. His goal in photography is simple — “to create images that empower and give voice to the subject, that engage and inspire the viewer.” This motto can be seen the second you enter his website. Beginning with a fly-through of an image and the use of a very engaging 2.5D effect, his work truly comes to life on the screen. The animation cycles between three images to give viewers a unique experience each time they enter. Ultimately culminating in a dramatic finish with the name of the photographer appearing on the screen, the introduction provides an intriguing look into the work and ideals of Rod McLean.

As the animated intro concludes, a preview gallery of his work appears. The images reveal themselves across the page varying from a landscape to square appearance. Hovering over each category cycles through three of his best pieces. These image transitions and the use of motion in the category aptly titled “motion” really sets his portfolio apart from the rest.

A common sight in his photographs is an athlete set across a vast landscape. With an expansive image set on nothing but a black background and noninvasive white text, the viewer is brought into the setting and fully engaged in the experience. At the top of the page, there is a simple drop-down menu to easily move between the home page, the about page, the contact page, and any one of his categorically divided photo galleries. At the bottom, is a section for thumbnails. When clicked, a preview of every image appears providing an accessible way to navigate through dozens of his pieces.

The final feature of his website exists on his contact page. A small paragraph next to an image tells a story of a past experience or an insight into his philosophies. Even the image to the right provides an understanding of his work process as he stitches together multiple images to create a detailed landscape that captivates the viewer and shows just how much work goes into each image.

Rod McLean's website is entirely about the experience for the viewer. His work could be strong enough in any setting but the simplistic gallery and the dynamic animation truly contribute to a complete, engaging experience for any audience.

Visit Rod McLean's Website