I was a photo editor at the New York Times Magazine from 1999-2010. It was the best job of my life. I was in awe of the constellation of editorial talent, from the editor in chief Adam Moss and the creative director, Janet Froelich, to the superstar editors and journalists.
My boss was the legendary photo director Kathy Ryan. In a time in which magazine making was relevant and magazines were flourishing, The New York Times Magazine revered the intersection of design, photography and writing.
I worked on a range of stories from week to week, but my passion was production. I liked producing big shoots with big photographers. I had insane ambition and the energy to achieve what often seemed unachievable.
Not only did I become a superb producer at the Times, but I also became a very diplomatic wrangler. Part of the challenge for me was to get the subjects to agree to do whatever we cooked up. Once I could convince the subject to do something great, then it was about assigning a terrific photographer and lining up the schedules. There is an art to all of this and nothing as rewarding as getting it to work.
Working at The Times was a lot like being in graduate school for journalism and photography. I learned everything there and there was an ethical code in the journalistic orbit that was important to the work we were doing. The philosophy and brilliance of the photo director, Kathy Ryan, was all about the photographic assignment. We’d get a story in and pick the photographer to articulate that story visually in the most surprising and arresting way possible. I worked with the most important photographers in the world across all genres of photography. It was an amazing job. I started out as a freelance photo editor, and in TK was promoted to be Deputy Photo editor for the next TK years until leaving for TIME.