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Matinee: 'Kathy Ryan: Office Romance' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

17 January 2015

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the sixty-ninth in our series of Saturday matinees today: Kathy Ryan: Office Romance.

In this three-minute video from the Aperture Foundation, New York Times Magazine Director of Photography Kathy Ryan talks about her office. It just happens to be on the sixth floor of the Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building.

What first caught her attention about the office (eventually, she admits, not right away) was the building's energy efficiency system that create a "zigzag of light" on her office walls.

She reached in her pocket for her iPhone and took a photo. The first of many.

The video shows more than a few of those photos of the shadows the blinds cast as well as other shots around the office, mostly (but not all) in black and white.

She decided to share them on her Instagram account. We really can't get too much of them. Poetry in rubber bands, levitating in-boxes, abstract compositions of silhoettes and overhead lighting, things like that.

And we're not alone. The images there became so popular that she wondered if people would accept a book made of Instagram pictures. "Why not?" she asked.

So she made a book out of them. Piano himself wrote the introduction and Ryan added some end notes to the 160-page hardcover Office Romance: Photographs from Inside The New York Times Building. Amazon describes the book:

First published on Instagram, it offers her account of the minute details of her working environment; her colleagues, who pose for her photographs; the glorious building she works in; and the light of New York City. As well as the joy and pleasure in each moment captured, Ryan's introduction refers to contrasts and ironies that characterize the photo world today; as old media meets new, an editor who commissions swashbuckling photographers all over the world finds moments of transcendent beauty within her office, that in turn become a hugely popular Instagram feed.

"I don't have any issues with whether you can make a legitimate picture on a cellphone," she says. "Of course you can. If it renders an image. It's what you do with it."

We like what she does with it. A lot.

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