The director of photography for the New York Times Magazine assigns photos that challenge her photographers to get out of their comfort zone, she said in a lecture Monday.
Kathy Ryan lectured in a room with more than 300 people about how magazine photographs come into being in the event put on by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Photo Forum and UH’s department of sociology.
“Everything I do is about launching things,” she said. “Something starts as an idea and we launch it, bring it in to focus, make it happen and go to press very, very quickly.”
Ryan explained why having a variety of photographers gives new life to stories.
“On a magazine, it’s always about reinvention,” she said. “Stories repeat themselves — the news repeats itself — so we’re always trying to figure out a new and fresh way to tell things visually. And one of the ways we do that is by having a really rich and wide array of photographers contributing.”
Her audience said she left them viewing photos in a new light.
“For somebody that doesn’t come from the photography world, she made (me) understand what’s implicated in the whole process,” said Gabriela Fiscu, a member of the audience. “Everything that she said — there’s humanity in that. She knew every photographer.”
Photographers and non-photographers alike enjoyed the presentation.
“I came to get a better appreciation for photojournalism, and I’m certainly leaving with that,” said Matt Adams, another audience member.