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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

KATHY RYAN @kathyryan1

As the Director of Photography for the New York Times Magazine Kathy Ryan is an active and vital part of the photo community. She is known for her photographic expertise, but not normally from behind the camera. Its been a busy couple months for Ryan, with the opening of her gallery show at Aperture to accompany her book The New York Times Magazine Photographs; she has been jug- gling that all while putting out a weekly magazine. However, it’s Ryan’s newest project that seems the most ritualistic. Every day Kathy Ryan posts some pictures to her instagram. In contrast to the instagrams of other photo magazine editors, she attempts to create valid and artistic images rather than simply documenting daily life. She has a good eye, a good sense of composition; she is a photo director after all. She works in an amazing building for an amazing company, but she does not rub our noses in it. No, she is actually polite about the whole thing and the viewer finds themselves to clicking ‘like’ with alarming alacrity. We all end up falling in love with the building a little, we all end up a little envious that our office might not be as romantic. There will be a book of her Office Romance released shortly, as her fans have been calling relentlessly for in her instagram comments. The series that the book is based on is called Office Romance. Or #OfficeRomance .

 

1515521_406434376125861_792775639_n© Kathy Ryan. Our Top Ten Photo Books of 2013 is now up on the 6th Floor blog! Go to 6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com Add your favorites to the comments.#officeromance #nytimesmagazine
 

It’s not often that writers get handed this kind of thing. As instagram is a social platform, people give their opinions right there, under the photos. The best way to analyze Kathy Ryan’s #Officeromance  is to embrace the medium and speak about the work in the moment, referencing her followers. It’s August 18th, approximately 6:15 pm. Kathy Ryan takes a picture of a woman in a black dress standing in front of the window. They really have great light in this office. The woman’s face is ob- scured by perfect 45 degree lines that show the office’s influence even on Kathy Ryan’s portraiture. It looks like the girl’s name is Sheila (1). Or, Kathy Ryan has a devoted following (or possibly a slightly misogynist, Australian audience (2). It’s lovely (3). It turns out that one can check the EXIF data to get the exact time of shutter closure, so no more approximately 6:15pm!(4)

10598489_683099851760496_1452722593_n© Kathy Ryan. Thank you @markpetersonpixs and @gretarama! 8/15/14 morning #nytimes#officeromance

 

10665952_283952321806942_162374305_n© Kathy Ryan #nytimesmagazine #officeromance 8/3/14

The 45 degree lines continue for a few more shots, damn the sunlight is great here (5) . Another on August the 18th, a white table with a vase reminiscent of Paul Strand’s still lifes (6).

The New York Times Magazine office is some kind of utopia . Imagine the opposite of Mad Men . An office populated by beautiful women (7) in a positive environment. It is September 18th and a beach ball sits in the corner of the 2nd floor conference room. The picture is nice (8), but not up to the standard of some of the others (9).

Art is anything you see (10), and Kathy Ryan trains her beloved eye (11) on the world around her, what she sees every day at work (12). As she continues she glides into more abstraction; close ups of tables and glasses, and colorful post it notes13 are mixed in with the previously mostly black and white work, to great effect (14).

Among other everyday objects Ryan captures are her glasses, that look a bit like Greg Heisler’s (15). Her photograph plays with shadows, imposing a projection onto the table. The tortoise shell frames and the expanded shadow are, by all accounts, cool (16). It’s 5:40pm on 1/11/13 and Kathy Ryan is looking down upon the #nytimes cafeteria. It seems like everything in the office is a pure white. A designers dream. The tables are perfect circles and the natural light makes the whole composition an abstract. Almost as if the building and the cafeteria were made for photographers (17). Then again, if it was really designed for photographers, there would probably be free food (18), and the two are never far apart.

1538426_1416584595246738_1057322484_n© Kathy Ryan #nytimesmagazine #officeromance yesterday 1/9/14 drawers, morning

 

1169025_313549615449813_2133534120_n© Kathy Ryan  #latergram #nytimes #nytimesmagazine #officeromance. 
 

Kathy Ryan continues her almost daily ritual of documenting her office, it is 8:45 am and she leans upwards to catch a man on the awning. In one of the more playful #officeromances some pink and white packing peanuts fall from a table, the shot is tense to the point of almost being fatal (19), but again Ryan shows her fascination with angles and shadows (20).

The office itself, the building, is an infinite source of inspiration, beauty and it never ceases to amaze (21), and Kathy Ryan’s #officeromance shows just that.

@crasstafarian.

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1  @cwynars “Sheila!”

2  @dreazlanabitnig “Sheeeeeeeeeila!”

3  @kaecreative “Lovely feed”. @veratitunik “Lovely”. @pbbregman “So lovely.”

4  @mod_daylo “For the exact time of shutter closure, you can check the EXIF data.”

5  @iammer “Fantastic! #killershadowplay”

6  @supranavdash “Gorgeous!! Reminds me of Paul Strand’s Still Lifes”

7  @hershey_wilmarie “if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane”. @iggy_smilecurez

“Cute girl”. @rorymcglasson, @zachspassport, @satin_rose1, @nigelscott881, @aspictures,

@timesgram; “beautiful”.

8  @curson “Nice”

9  @kaiwenli1 “b+”

10  @marumo4 “they say art is anything you see. Nice pic.”

11  @kateburgess “Love your eye lady!”

12  @edmarion “I love art, like this, that depicts work. Super.” @alpathal “i would hate to be stuck in this kind of setup. urgh. i hate office life”

13  @bigbbabygenius “CMYK!”

14  @tinyatlasquarterly “Nice to see color in the romance @kathryryan1”

15  @zabelita “These look like Greg Heisler’s glasses :)”

16 @oh_hey_emma_“Wowcool”;@rmerofrr“Verycool.”;@soroushrajabi“Verycool”@seamyra23“So cool” ; @farah_hamdy “Cool”; @babyhommez “Hw r u going to wear dat # buh pretty cool”

17  @neudobno “it seems like cafeteria was specially designed for photographers”

18 @g_wah“ifitwasphotographerstherewouldbefreefood.”@porgif“iftherewasfreefood,there’d be photographers.”

19  @silvermule “The amount of tension in this image kills me. Great shot.”

20  @samanthadyck “incredible 90 degree angle with the shadows!”

21 @kathyryan1“Itisanincrediblybeautifulbuilding.Itneverceasestoamazeme.Ifeelfortunateto be here”

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