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Bologne : Foto/Industria 2015


«This began when I saw a bolt of light zigzag across the stairs one afternoon at the “New York Times Magazine”. I pulled out my iPhone and took a picture of it. Then I started seeing pictures all the time – incredible beauty and poetry in my office. (…) My corner of the office faces east and is flooded with a particular intense light first thing in the morning. (…) I didn’t really pay attention to it when we first moved into the Renzo Piano-designed building. I am a creature of habit and I loved the gritty, old Times building, in all its messiness. (…) The new building felt too new and clean and crisp. But the moment I started to take photographs was the same moment I fell in love with it.»

Kathy Ryan is not a photographer; she is the benefactor of photographers. She has been one of the top photo editors in her field selecting the photos for the pages of the «New York Times Magazine» where she is the director of photography. She skips from a Hollywood portrait to, recently, a big reportage on the migrant crisis in Greece, from a sports coverage to a photo issue on Voyages – a travel issue featuring photographers’ journeys; her domain potentially covers all aspects of the news, but from the viewpoint of a weekly magazine.

She chooses the greatest conceptual photographers, the best reporters and the most recognized portrait photographers.

She takes these shots without the slightest pretention, simply for the fun, posting them on Instagram. The huge number of “I 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.

The results, a sunbeam on the carpet, fleeting portraits of work colleagues, cast shadows, a stack of post-its, a bunch of flowers, are full of poetry, tranquillity and amazing variety, leading the viewer on a very moving stroll through the life of the office.

Renzo Piano says: «The first thing I do when I visit a site for the first time is to understand where the north lies and where the sun comes up and goes down. (…) Light is to an architect what sound is to a composer. (…) In Kathy’s Ryan pictures, I am happy to find somebody who has captured it».

If Kathy Ryan trained her eye, almost without realizing it, her photos could be shot in almost any type of office block, bank, insurance company, or engineering industry… this photographic notebook, one of the first truly interesting trends of widespread phone photography diffusion promises even more surprises in the future now that almost everybody has become a photographer.

The exhibition is presented in the form of prints, projections, and a ticker recalling the «New York Times» ticker in Times Square, posting Kathy Ryan’s frantic daily schedule.

François Hébel


Office Romance by Kathy Ryan
From October 3rd to November 1st, 2015
Istituzine Bologna Museil
Museo internazionale e Biblioteca di Bologna
Strada Maggiore, 34

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