Kathy Ryan, the Director of Photography for The New York Times Magazine, has an eye for seeing beautiful work. Working in an office building with an intricate façade creates the perfect interior for fans of striking lighting. Ryan has used her images to transport her everyday life around the office to somewhere more mystical than the typical American workspace. Office Romance captures Ryan’s routine through her iPhone and Instagram. With the bold colors and crisp lines of light and shadow, Ryan romanticizes the traditional office into a fantasy for any dreamer’s gaze.
The Introduction, written by architect Renzo Piano, describes the city of New York “…to be photosensitive…”. Ryan encapsulates the idea of the chameleon city with her lens, but has stayed in her small sector. The photographs starting back in 2012 show off what it is like working as a higher power in the world of print. From empty hallways to co-workers she encounters on a daily basis, Ryan let’s the viewer in as if they too were working along side her. Using the timestamp to name the rays of light beaming through, both the black and white and color imagery that Ryan has squared off shows the sharp edges and deep patches of shade her building creates for her lens.
In her Afterword, Ryan writes that she knows that she is “…not a photographer.” Arguably, her photographs can prove otherwise. Years of looking at other photographers’ work have been the influence behind Ryan chasing after the light. While Ryan uses her many of her staffers to stimulate her photos throughout the day, her posts are part of the culture of Instagram that the majority of social media users monitor. Scrolling through daily, Instagrammers follow not just their friends but also accounts of those that snap beautiful images. These profiles give another break from their existence, whether it is food, landscapes of world travels, or pets. Ryan also says in her Afterword “Office life is under-appreciated as a subject for photographers.” With an expanse that is usually looked at with such dissent, Ryan has taken her photographs and elevated them to a new height of appreciation for a daily view for the common worker.
Office Romance is the daydream for the cubicle worker that spends their days under fluorescent lighting in a mostly windowless area. Ryan has created a safe space bound for those who need the escape during the 9 – 5. Office Romance is the longing stare to the outside world or the slowed walk back to a desk; a picturesque and 21st century break from the normal boundaries of their corporation. With the familiar square format and the different angles of common objects, Ryan has curated a photo book for everyone to enjoy.
If you are interested in purchasing Office Romance, you can purchase it on the Aperture website.
Written by Madison Rich
Images taken by Madison Rich