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Posted 03/11/2021
This is the second episode of the B&H Photography Podcast produced with the collaboration of Leica Camera, and we are pleased to welcome photographer Stella Johnson to the show. It is the “in-between moments of life” that Johnson describes as the subject of her work, work that includes books and documentary series made in Cameroon, Greece, Nicaragua, and Mexico. In this easygoing conversation, we discuss the nature of her long-term projects, and the motivations that return her to the same places year after year. We also talk about composing with rangefinder cameras, being at the eye level of your subject, and the weeks that go by without making pictures and the verbal and nonverbal communication necessary when you are invited as a photographer into a community or home, as Johnson has been. For her personal documentary work, Johnson has relied on Leica M cameras and a 35mm focal length lens. We discuss this focal distance in terms of a personal comfort zone and one that even felt safer during pandemic time. Johnson keeps her settings simple and concentrates on composition and the moment; she tends to find light and locations that she likes and waits for the images. Because Johnson’s compositions are so strong in black-and-white and her color work is minimal and adroit, we ask for her thoughts on how to work with both formats and if a fluidity between them is easy. Finally, in searching for a definition of documentary photography, we mulled over the effect of time, of returning to locations and subjects, of its distinction from photojournalism, as seeing “what life is like” and the stories of “just daily life.” Guest: Stella Johnson Photograph © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “RE-CREATIONS” © Stella Johnson Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C. Steiner
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Posted 02/04/2021
It’s hard to imagine a more ideal guest for a photography podcast than the wonderful Ralph Gibson. Gibson checks all the boxes—a straight-up master of the medium, a man of insights and tales, with a comprehensive understanding of photography from the nuts and bolts to the conceptual rigors. After training in the Navy, he assisted the great Dorothea Lange in the darkroom, but found his calling as an artist, staying true to his voice, and founding a publishing house for his seminal photo book, The Somnambulist, and those of many other artists, including Larry Clark, Mary Ellen Mark, and Duane Michals. On this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Gibson about Robert Frank and Dorothea Lange, about establishing a visual signature, “broken focus,” and of course, about his trusty Leica systems. We also touch on his relationship with musician and artist Lou Reed, 50mm versus 75mm lenses, deconstructing the tropes of photography, and the connections between music and photography. This was a conversation we wished could have continued for hours, and we suggest you consider one of Gibson’s bookmaking workshops or simply dig into his incredible body of work, perhaps starting with his latest book, Sacred Land: Israel Before and After Time. Join us for this wide-ranging and inspiring conversation, and as Gibson states, “I always believed that if I stayed true to my work, everything else would fall into place.” Guest: Ralph Gibson Photograph © Ralph Gibson From “The Somnambulist” © Ralph Gibson From “The Somnambulist” © Ralph Gibson “Elbow” © Ralph Gibson From “San Francisco” © Ralph Gibson “Self-portrait in VW, 1963” © Ralph Gibson Cover of “Sacred Land” © Ralph Gibson From “Sacred Land” © Ralph Gibson From “Sacred Land” © Ralph Gibson From “Sacred Land” © Ralph Gibson From “Sacred Land” © Ralph Gibson Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 12/17/2020
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome photographer Matthew Franklin Carter to the program. Like many photographers, Matt Carter wears a lot of hats. In his case, literally and figuratively, but his photography work blends documentary, editorial, and portrait work and reflects the place he calls home—Greenville, South Carolina. He shoots for regional and specialty magazines and does corporate work and portraits for local artists and businesses. He also assists other photographers and, of course, he has his personal projects. Family, food, fishing, hunting, drag racing, and dirt cars are depicted with humility and grace and a touch of humor. With Carter we discuss a range of topics, but keep our conversation focused on how to work comfortably in varied settings and with different communities of folk. Carter may be at home on the rivers shooting fly fishing, but he also has produced wonderful series at local car-racing tracks, a world with which he is much less familiar. We talk about these two racing projects—“Dirt” and “Glory”—and how he mingles with the drivers and crowd, as well as the gear he uses, from FUJIFILM to Mamiya, to create portraits and documentary-style images. We also discuss photographing hunting and fishing and the portrait work he does, in studio and on location, and the lighting he uses for each situation. We close on the topic of “finding your voice,” and for Carter how his latest project on local food production unites his many passions. Join us for this easygoing and informative conversation. Guest: Matthew Franklin Carter Above photograph © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Dirt” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Dirt” © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 07/29/2020
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we present a conversation with two photographers. We start with Aaron Turner, who is also a scholar, an archivist, and the host of the podcast “Photographers of Color.” Turner stays with us as we speak later with Laylah Amatullah Barrayn about her street portraiture during the COVID-19 outbreak in New York and  the recent uprising in Minneapolis. With Turner, we talk about the genesis of The Center for Photographers of Color, which is currently located at the School of Arts at the University of Arkansas, and how it grew from a Twitter feed as an attempt to recognize and connect the many African-American photographers both currently working and of historical significance and influence. We discuss the Center and its research, exhibition, archiving goals, and overall mission to develop and maintain a community of photographers. We also chat with Turner about his personal photography and how that has evolved over the years from photojournalism to documentary to a more conceptual form integrating personal and cultural histories. After a break, we welcome Laylah Amatullah Barrayn and jump right into a conversation about her decision to return to her Brownsville, Brooklyn, neighborhood to photograph the residents during the early uncertain days of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to an assignment on funeral directors, she created a wonderful series on the fashion and cultural statements of wearing a mask. We also speak about her work in Minneapolis during the June uprising there, and how she focused on portraiture of the residents, as opposed to the protests themselves. We also discuss technique with a FUJIFILM mirrorless system and a 35mm lens, the need to bear witness, the value of working with a community of photographers, and the “power of the archive.” Join us for this wide-ranging and passionate conversation about the importance of recognizing tradition, supporting your fellow photographers, and pushing for necessary changes within the photography sphere and the culture at large. Guests: Aaron Turner and Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Photograph © Aaron Turner Looking at Drue King, from The Black Alchemy, Vol 2 series, 2018 © Aaron Turner Untitled, from The Black Alchemy, Vol. 1 series, 2015 © Aaron Turner Great Uncle Sammie's Funeral, Marion, Arkansas, 2014 © Aaron Turner Bethel A.M.E. Church, Lansing, Arkansas, 2015 © Aaron Turner Terrence D., Dumas, Arkansas, 2015 © Aaron Turner Lougè Delcy, also known as Dapper Lou, wears a custom-designed mask near the entrance of Prospect Park, May, 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Aïssatou, from Conakry, Guinea, waits for the shuttle train at the Prospect Park station, Brooklyn, May 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Minneapolis, June, 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Minneapolis, June, 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Mutual aid networks, distributing food and supplies in north Minneapolis, June 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 07/08/2020
Our conversation on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is with the fabulous and innovative Duane Michals. Of the many comments he made about his photography practice, a practice that has been commercially and artistically successful for almost sixty years, one that stood out was his aside that “photography has failed [him] as an art form.” The comment comes late in our conversation but refers to the idea that Michals' goal of pure expression is not accommodated by photography alone; he needs to turn to sequential narrative, to writing on photo prints, even to painting on photos to get to the expression that he wants to convey. For anyone looking for how-tos or technique tips, you’ve come to the wrong episode, but to light the path to a true artistic self-expression, Michals’ words hold much promise. We spoke with him about a range of subjects, from how a constant curiosity combined with good work habits fueled his work and success. We talk about his working-class upbringing, his youthful adventures to Texas and, later, to the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War, where he first took photos in earnest. About specific images, we asked about his “Death Comes to the Old Lady,” and he also related a story about photographing Warren Beatty in a New York hotel room. We even spoke about Canon cameras and the references he draws upon for his work, from Walt Whitman and William Blake to Pierre Bonnard and Robert Frank, but mostly we discuss his creative instincts and process, which seem to start and end with the idea, “If you already know what you’re going to do, then you’re not being creative.” Join us for this insightful conversation with a true photographic innovator. Guest: Duane Michals Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York 2nd Prize Winner – B&H Photography Podcast Leica Photo Challenge – “Work & Dance from Home” © Ajay Raina, 2020 1st Prize Winner – B&H Photography Podcast Leica Photo Challenge – “Applause” © Karles Rives 2020 Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 01/29/2020
I don’t know if we’ve ever had two photographers with such divergent styles on the same episode. It would make little sense to even have them on together, except that their individual work is exceptional, and they are married to each other. This week on the B&H Photography Podcast, we return to a format that has served us well in the past —speaking with a couple who both work in photography. We really hit the jackpot this time, with Sara Bennett and Joseph Holmes, not simply because they are interesting photographers and really nice folks but, between them, they embody a wide range of photo skills, from the technical and artistic, to the narrative and journalistic, from portraiture and art photography, to advocacy and social documentary. It’s quite an interesting situation and Holmes and Bennett, each in their own way, offer personal insight into their varied projects, and they also generously allow us a glimpse into how they work together as a couple, raising a family and supporting each other’s work. Sara Bennett’s photography, which has been published in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and the PBS/News Hour, grew from her years working as a lawyer, primarily on cases related to battered women and the wrongly convicted. Her portraiture of women in prison and transitioning from incarceration humanizes as it advocates and educates. Her books, Life After Life in Prison, The Bedroom Project, and Looking Inside: Portraits of Women Serving Life Sentences, are beautiful and simple documents that serve a higher purpose, and we talk with Bennett about her intentions and the long process to find the right women to photograph and the complications and joys of photographing in prison. With Joseph Holmes, we start the conversation with New York City—and I don’t think we ever leave. Holmes could make a great image in a dark closet, but his work has such an understanding of our city and the subjects he has chosen to photograph—“ Cooks on Breaks,” “Urban Wilderness,” “Streit’s Matzoh Factory,” and “ Tracing the Underground,” are so New York, without ever touching the boiler plate. Blending portraiture, documentary, and street photography, Holmes’s dedication to the photo series and his technical aplomb represent the best of fine-art reportage. His work is represented by Jen Bekman Gallery, and pieces are included in the permanent collection of several museums, including the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Check out his photo annuals and enjoy this wonderful conversation as much as we did. Guests: Sara Bennett and Joseph Holmes Photograph © Joseph Holmes Karen, from “The Bedroom Project,” 2017 © Sara Bennett Traci, from “The Bedroom Project,” 2017 © Sara Bennett Jennifer, from “Looking Inside,” 2018 © Sara Bennett Sahiah, from “Looking Inside,” 2019 © Sara Bennett Patrice, from “Looking Inside,” 2018 © Sara Bennett Kat, from “Looking Inside,” 2019 © Sara Bennett from “Tracing the Underground,” 2017 © Joseph Holmes from “Tracing the Underground,” 2017 © Joseph Holmes from “Streit’s,” 2015 © Joseph Holmes from “Streit’s,” 2015 © Joseph Holmes Walter, from “Custom Machinery,” 2009 © Joseph Holmes Hugo, from “Custom Machinery,” 2009 © Joseph Holmes Bridgeport Vertical Milling Machine, 2009 © Joseph Holmes Van Norman Duplex Milling Machine, 2009 © Joseph Holmes Joseph O. Holmes and Sara Bennett © Allan Weitz Allan Weitz, Joseph O. Holmes, and Sara Bennett © John Harris Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 01/15/2020
Imagine the privilege of being present at the creation of one of the “wonders of the world,” and then imagine being asked to document the magnitude—and the details—of that creation. Our guest on today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast has just that privilege and that responsibility and, as he puts it, this telescope may “change the way we understand our universe.” Chris Gunn has been a NASA contract photographer for almost twenty years but, for the past ten, he has dedicated himself to the James Webb Space Telescope and documenting the construction and eventual launch of this spacecraft, which will replace the Hubble as NASA’s most powerful telescope. We speak with Gunn about all aspects of his job and, specifically, about the gorgeous medium format images he creates that are made available to the public. Gunn is responsible for documenting the construction process, which includes portraits of scientists, as well as macro shots of screws, and he relates how he has “taken the extra step” to evolve as a photographer, incorporating medium format photography and detailed setups. Gunn must be prepared to shoot any style of photo and he discusses his daily responsibilities, how his gear has evolved over time, the lighting he chooses, and his interaction with the hundreds and technicians and scientists he works with regularly. We also discuss marketing yourself as a photographer and the specific challenges that make his job like no other, including working in giant “clean rooms,” accepting that your work is immediately in the public domain, and incorporating the aesthetics from science-fiction films. Sitting in on this recording is our own member of the B&H Space Force, writer Todd Vorenkamp. Join us for this fascinating episode in which we learn about this incredible spacecraft and the work that goes into documenting its creation and check out our 2016 episode, in which we speak with the imaging scientists from the  Hubble Telescope mission. Guest: Chris Gunn Above photograph © Chris Gunn Chamber A Door © Chris Gunn/NASA Blanket Inspection © Chris Gunn/NASA Wings Deployed © Chris Gunn/NASA Lights Out Inspection © Chris Gunn/NASA Container Doors © Chris Gunn/NASA Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 10/03/2019
We welcome to the B&H Photography Podcast two photographers who have brought their talent and dedication to bear on the complex and beautiful lives that exist on the U.S.-Mexico border. Our first guest is photographer Stefan Falke, who is engaged in a 10-year portrait project called LA FRONTERA: Artists along the US-Mexico Border, which is dedicated to documenting the “influence that artists have on their community.” He has photographed more than 200 artists, writers, singers, and photographers who live on both sides of the 2,000-mile-long border. With Falke we discuss the development of this project, his style of shooting, how he met the many artists he has photographed, and the complications and joys of shooting in border towns in the U.S. and Mexico. He also discusses how he pared down his camera and lens choices for this project to just his trusty Nikon D850 and a 24-70mm lens. After a short break, we welcome photographer Monica Lozano, who is included in Falke’s project, and describes her portrait session with him in the main market, in Juarez, Mexico. We also discuss her incredible photographic series, which blend documentary and fine art styles to bring awareness to the struggle of migrants in Europe and the Americas. Lozano, a Mexican-American artist with roots in both countries, brings a compassionate yet objective depiction to a complex situation, and she even blends in a touch of humor. With Lozano, we discuss her evolution as an artist, the differing effects that stylized photos have compared to straight documentary, and the resounding need to understand the long and evolving history and culture of “la frontera.” Join us for this compelling conversation and check out the B&H Photography Podcast Facebook Group. Guests: Stefan Falke and Monica Lozano Raechel Running, Agua Prieta, Mexico, 2015© Stefan Falke Alfredo “Libre” Gutierrez, Tijuana, Mexico, 2016 © Stefan Falke Tom Kiefer, Ajo Arizona, 2017 © Stefan Falke Jellyfish, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, 2015 © Stefan Falke Monica Lozano, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, 2015 © Stefan Falke Pablo Llana, Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, 2016 © Stefan Falke from the “What Remains” series © Monica Lozano from the “What Remains” series © Monica Lozano from the “What Remains” series © Monica Lozano from the “What Remains” series © Monica Lozano from the “Borders” series © Monica Lozano from the “Borders” series © Monica Lozano from the “Borders” series © Monica Lozano from the “Hugs Not Walls” series © Monica Lozano from the “Hugs Not Walls” series © Monica Lozano Allan Weitz, Monica Lozano, and Stefan Falke © John Harris Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 04/03/2019
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome two photographers who are part of the diverse and thriving cultural and artistic life of The Bronx. Rhynna Santos and Michael G. Young are both members of the Bronx Documentary Center and, today, we discuss their individual bodies of work, the role the BDC plays in their lives and community, and we talk a bit about what makes The Bronx so boogie-down. Talk about committed—not only is Rhynna Santos  a documentary photographer creating long-form series on subjects close to her heart, she leads workshops at the BDC, coordinates the Bronx Photo League and curates the Everyday Bronx feed on Instagram. Her current project, #papielmaestro, profiles her father, legendary musician Ray Santos. This series, which is on exhibit at the Bronx Music Heritage Center documents her father’s musical legacy and examines her role as her aging father’s caregiver. Michael Young is primarily a street photographer, but his portrait, event, and street fashion work is so strong, he is hard to pigeon-hole. We talk about his commitment to photography, the ability to take on different styles, and his current project on the people of Claremont Village, a public housing project in The Bronx. With Santos and Young, we discuss the challenges faced by artists of color and those in underserved communities, the value of embracing long-term projects, and how shooting “what you know” with the gear you have is a key to engaged photography. We also take a minute to shout out to a shared mentor, Jamel Shabazz, and the role he has played in the artistic development of their photography, and we profile the Bronx Documentary Center, a non-profit gallery and community-oriented cultural center that offers workshops, lectures, exhibits, and a home base for children, adults, and seniors to get hands-on training in photojournalism, filmmaking, and documentary photography. Join us for this inspirational episode. Guests: Michael G. Young and Rhynna Santos Photograph © Michael G. Young From #papielmaestro © Rhynna Santos From #papielmaestro © Rhynna Santos From #papielmaestro © Rhynna Santos From #papielmaestro © Rhynna Santos From #papielmaestro © Rhynna Santos From #papielmaestro © Rhynna Santos From #papielmaestro © Rhynna Santos From #papielmaestro © Rhynna Santos NYC Stride © Michael Young Morning Run © Michael Young Being a Father is Everything © Michael Young Untitled © Michael Young Untitled © Michael Young Michael G. Young © John Harris Rhynna Santos © Allan Weitz Allan Weitz, Michael Young, and Rhynna Santos © John Harris Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 09/08/2017
The title “The Falling Man” has been acknowledged as the name of the photograph of a man falling from the north tower of the World Trade Center during the attacks of September 11, 2001. The image depicts a lone figure falling headfirst against the backdrop of the vertical lines of the twin towers. As an image, it is a striking composition and the casual position of the man’s body bisecting the two towers, has even been described as graceful. These visual elements mask the horror of its immediate context and perhaps add to the upsetting response that often accompanies this image. Unlike other photographs from that day, this image does not explicitly depict carnage and destruction, but it is this image that has been often singled-out as too disturbing to view, too galling to publish. In fact, the image was published by many newspapers on the day following the attacks and was received with such recoil that editors were called to apologize for its inclusion and almost immediately, it fell under a shroud of obscurity, which in the sixteen years since 9/11, has been slowly lifted. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome veteran Associated Press photojournalist Richard Drew who took this now iconic photograph. We talk with Drew about his experiences on September 11, 2001, about media self-censorship and about how this photo, which is simultaneously peaceful and deeply painful, had been received, rejected and perhaps now, accepted as part of the whole story and a symbol of all that was lost that day. Guest: Richard Drew Editor’s Note: We have decided to not use “The Falling Man” photograph in our blog post because of its painful depiction, but we feel the conversation we hold has educational, emotional and historical value, especially as we approach the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11. We produced it and present it with the utmost of respect for those whose lives has been affected by the attacks of September 11, 2001, particularly the survivors, the victims and their families, the first-responders and the journalists, who also risked their lives that horrible morning. Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, Los Angeles, 1968. Photograph: Richard Drew Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, Los Angeles, 1968. Photograph: Richard Drew Muhammad Ali watches as defending world champion George Foreman goes down to the canvas in the eighth round of their WBA/WBC championship match in Kinshasa, Zaire, on October 30, 1974. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Frank Sinatra escorts Jackie Onassis to the '21' Club on September 17, 1975 after she attended his concert at the Uris theater (AP Photo/Richard Drew) President Richard Nixon attends a baseball game at Yankee Stadium after his term in office (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Andy Warhol (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Texas billionaire Ross Perot laughs in response to reporters asking when he plans to formally enter the Presidential race. New York City, May 5, 1992 (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Britain’s Prince Charles, during a charity polo match in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park. February 17, 1993 (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Cuban President Fidel Castro at a special commemorative meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, October 22, 1995. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Specialist Anthony Rinaldi is reflected in a screen at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, April 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Richard Drew at the B&H Photography Podcast. Photograph: John Harris Allan Weitz and Richard Drew. Photograph: John Harris Previous Pause Next DON'T MISS AN EPISODE SUBSCRIBE NOW:   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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