Opinion | A Newsroom, on Pause

From the shadows, the newsroom beckons, ready to come alive again.

I first met Kathy Ryan a few years ago when I needed a new picture of myself for The Times. We met on an autumn afternoon in the New York office that’s been headquarters since 2007.

Bologna : Foto/Industria 2015 Kathy Ryan – The Eye of Photography

She takes these shots without the slightest pretention, simply for the fun, posting them on Instagram. The huge number of “likes” she received boosted her confidence and now in the middle of her frenetic work day rushing from one meeting to another, finding solutions for the endless changes in the magazine’s contents, or having to find a different approach, she invents these moments of exquisite imagery.


As you will see in the video above, Kathy Ryan, New York Times Magazine, and I are long time friends. We met teaching together at the Eddie Adams Workshop way back at the beginning.  Hmmm, maybe 25…

As you will see in the video above, Kathy Ryan, New York Times Magazine, and I are long time friends. We met teaching together at the Eddie Adams Workshop way back at the beginning.  Hmmm, maybe 25 years ago. I have no real sense of time. Anyway Kathy is a gem. Known forever as a picture editor, now turned photographer, now with a published book, and still Director of Photography at the NYTimes Magazine. Kathy became a photographer because of Instagram. Literally.

Epiphany on a Kosovo Rooftop

Fred R. Conrad may be best known for his exquisite portraits, but an assignment in Kosovo taught him the value of watching and waiting for the story to come to him.

Kathy Ryan, the director of photography for The New York Times Magazine, sent me to Kosovo in June of 1999 to take a panoramic picture of a burned-out street that would be published over four pages. There was one proviso: Whatever ruins I decided to photograph had to reveal the horrors that had been inflicted upon its occupants.

Kathy Ryan, Kira Pollack, and Benjamin Lowy Discuss Their Use of Instagram

Ryan and Pollack began by speaking about different ways in which their publications have used smartphone images in the last few years. For a 2010 New York Times Magazine cover story about twentysomethings, Ryan said, she commissioned smartphone images because she felt they fit the subject matter. “We never had any objections…we see it as one more way of making pictures,” she said.

LightBox | Time

Read the latest stories about LightBox on Time

Kathy Ryan, the Director of Photography at The New York Times Magazine, is famous for cross-assigning—hiring a war photographer to shoot celebrities, or commissioning a large-format landscape photographer to capture news close up. In 2008, Ryan asked photojournalist Paolo Pellegrin to create the Times Magazine’s annual Great Performances portfolio, which offered an intimate look at celebrities who are often highly controlled by publicists. When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, Kathy’s news instincts led her to look into a larger, more global view of refugee camps. She sent Simon Norfolk, a large format, landscape photographer, to record displaced people in three different countries with his 8×10 camera. Any number of photojournalists could have executed that assignment, but Simon’s unique eye found incredible detail in each of those scenes, and distinguished the work from other news pictures.

Very Familiar Faces, Far Out of Context

What is a Times Magazine celebrity portrait? Kathy Ryan, the director of photography, doesn’t believe in boundaries. That’s one reason it’s so hard to define.

What makes a good celebrity portrait? It has a lot to do with finding a presence. Avoiding the superficial. Rendering an individual almost dreamlike. Kathy Ryan, the director of photography of The New York Times Magazine, describes it as “that split second when something intense seems to be happening with the person in the portrait.”

Kathy Ryan, thirty years of New York Times

Kathy, can you describe in detail the content of your exhibition ? It is a view on the best photographs published in the New York Times Magazine for the last 30 years. The 11 different installations show magnificent images that attempt to reveal to the spectator the process of the publication of a photo in a magazine, and the surroundings of the decor of the metier of the photographer