Will McBride was born in St Louis, Missouri in 1931 but has lived in Germany since 1955. Will McBride rose to fame in the 1950s and ‘60s as a pre-eminent documentary photographer. His photo essays appeared regularly in various German magazines, and that work has established itself as a chronicle of the Kennedy and Adenauer years.
Will McBride has always been a controversial artist. His sex education book Show Me was withdrawn from publication in the US, and cannot be sold there. His work has the gritty, involved quality of 50s photographers such as Klein and van der Elsken. Their aesthetic was to break down the barrier between subject and artist, for the artist to become "engaged" as was being argued by Sartre and the French Existentialists. Theirs was an attempt to circumvent obstructions to reality, to see the "essence" of the thing observed, to eschew the posed bodies and hard-edged formalism of the Bauhaus. The immediacy of the medium must be restored. Perhaps it was this directness, this sense of unavoidable fact that made his child sexuality photographs so threatening? The camera shows no respect for taboo; it sees through the veil.
In 2004 McBride received the Dr. Erich Salomon Prize, which is bestowed by the German Photographic Association and is the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for photography.
Solo exhibitions since 2000 have included: the Galleria d´Arte Moderna, Bologna; Dany Keller Galerie, Munich; and the Galerie argus fotokunst, Berlin.