Drew Johnson, Curator of Photography & Visual Culture at Oakland Museum, was intrigued. "Really really interesting and I'd like to see more," he said. He was most fascinated by the choice to photograph places without people in them. "The way he does it really tells you something about the people of this city, even though they are not in the photographs," he said.
The Honorable Libby Schaff, Mayor of the City of Oakland: “The Oaktown portfolio keenly shows the beauty and struggle of Oakland. In capturing Oakland’s complexity, it helps us to see ourselves, thereby providing a tremendous service to all who have had the fortune to view the work.”
The civil rights photographer Matt Herron saw Malcolm Ryder’s work in spring 2020. He said about this work: “It’s a way of looking at a certain kind of person and exploring them through what they put up. It’s looking at some aspect of what it is to be human. Even though people aren’t physically present in Malcolm’s photographs, they’re very present in the photographs. He’s not doing nature; he’s doing the human environment. He’s doing an exploration of people through the human environment.”
“He’s sort of a modern-day Lee Friedlander. He’s very sensitive to the urban environment. He pictures it as Friedlander does, devoid of people. Really as urban artifacts. Graffiti that was respectful of the building. It wasn’t just using the building as a canvas but integrating the graffiti into the architecture. I never thought about that because I tend to look at graffiti as destroying something. None of his graffiti is destroying anything. He made me see graffiti in a new way.”