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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 10/24/2019
Perhaps there is one thing on which all photographers can agree: we love to photograph our pets. From amateur to professional, a simple photo of our dog, cat, or guinea pig making “that face” is almost irresistible and, based on the current exhibit at The Museum of the Dog, this fascination with photographing our pets reaches into the past for as long as the medium has existed. On this week’s episode, we welcome author and vernacular photography collector Catherine Johnson, and Alan Fausel, Executive Director and CEO of the Museum of the Dog, to discuss the current exhibit on display at this museum. Johnson began collecting archival photos of dogs as a young girl, mostly from local flea markets, but over the years has amassed a unique collection of images—snapshots, posed portraits, cabinet cards, tintypes—dating back to the 1880s. This collection was made into the 2007 book, Dogs, and is now a wonderful exhibition at the Museum of the Dog, during the inaugural year in its new home, in Midtown Manhattan. With Johnson, we discuss the origin of her collection, the distinction between vernacular and amateur photography, and what makes for a good dog photo. We also touch upon her time working for photographer Norman Parkinson and her other photography work. Mr. Fausel, who has thirty years of art-world experience as a scholar, curator, appraiser, and regular guest on the Antiques Roadshow, now heads the Museum of the Dog, which is affiliated with the American Kennel Club. With Fausel, we speak about curating this exhibit, the challenges and joys of running a multi-faceted institution with such a specific theme, and how to balance the interests of dog lovers of varying stripes. We also discuss the growing interest in vernacular photography in the art world and its hard-to-be-determined appraisal value. Join us for this interesting episode and check out the “Photos: Please do not Bend, the Catherine Johnson Collection” on display through December 29, 2019, at the Museum of the Dog. Guests: Catherine Johnson and Alan Fausel © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC, Image Courtesy AKC Museum of the Dog © Catherine Johnson LLC, Image Courtesy AKC Museum of the Dog Jason Tables and Catherine Johnson, © John Harris Alan Fausel © John Harris Allan Weitz, Catherine Johnson, and Alan Fausel © John Harris Allan and his “look-a-like” © 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 10/07/2019
“A wiser feller than myself once said, ‘Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear, well, he eats you.’” A few of our listeners may recognize this quote from a certain 1998 movie but, for others, well, it may just be a confusing adage. For today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, however, we did indeed “eat the bear” and are very fortunate to welcome actor, musician, and photographer Jeff Bridges to our show. In addition to being an Academy Award-winning actor, Bridges photographs the “behind-the-scenes” making of his movies with a Widelux swing-lens panoramic film camera, and over the years has collected those images in private editions, made for the cast and crew. In 2003, he published a book called, Jeff Bridges: Pictures, and in October 2019, is releasing the incredible Jeff Bridges: Pictures Volume 2, which “expands on Bridges' intimate vision of Hollywood behind-the-scenes. Included within are rare looks at the famed actors, top directors, talented costumers, and makeup artists, skilled and creative set and art decoration, and the rest of the passionate crews involved in such memorable movies as True Grit, Crazy Heart, The Giver, TRON: Legacy, and Hell or High Water. ” With Bridges, we discuss his affinity for the Widelux, and how he handles this camera—known for its idiosyncrasies. We relate the nuts-and-bolts aspects of his workflow, from using the viewfinder (or not) to measuring exposure with a Minolta spot meter, to how he composes a frame with a 140-degree angle of view. We also discuss other wide-format cameras, how Bridges works on set with other actors and crew members, the creation of his new book, and the scope of his photographic work, which has become a unique documentation of movie-making from the 1980s until today. Join us for this lively conversation and look for Jeff Bridges: Pictures Volume 2, published by powerHouse Books and distributed by Penguin Random House. All of Bridge’s proceeds from the sale of his book go to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, a nonprofit organization that offers charitable care and support to film-industry workers. When you visit his website, check the link for No Kid Hungry, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger and for which Bridges is the national spokesperson. Finally, if you are in the Los Angeles area on October 15, take the opportunity to have Jeff sign your copy of his book at the Book Soup event, on Sunset Blvd. Guest: Jeff Bridges Above photograph © Jeff Bridges George Clooney, Tragedia/Comedia, "The Men Who Stare at Goats," 2009 © Jeff Bridges Iron Man Suit, "Iron Man," 2008 © Jeff Bridges Stan Winston’s Workshop, "Iron Man," 2008 © Jeff Bridges Stephen Bruton, Songwriter, "Crazy Heart," 2009 © Jeff Bridges Jack Nation, "Crazy Heart," 2009 © Jeff Bridges Gary Ross, Director, and Tobey Maguire, "Seabiscuit," 2003 © Jeff Bridges Claudio Miranda and Olivia Wilde, "Tron: Legacy," 2010 © Jeff Bridges Loyd Catlett, "Seventh Son," 2014 © Jeff Bridges "Scenes of the Crime," 2001 © Jeff Bridges Jodelle Ferland, Tragedia/Comedia, "Tideland," 2005 © Jeff Bridges Jeff Bridges, "True Grit," 2010 © Jeff Bridges Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 02/13/2019
The wedding-photography business is very competitive, so to have a distinct client base and a way to stand out from the crowd is crucial—almost necessary. On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we discuss niche wedding photography with three photographers who have forged a career path by photographing the weddings of a specific niche demographic. To be clear, each of these photographers shoot weddings for all ilks, but they have been able to distinguish themselves by embracing a specific market. We discuss how each of them discovered their photographic specialty, the importance of understanding traditions while balancing demands of new generations, specific tips for photographing within their areas of expertise, and how incorporating and embracing their own life stories helped find their career path. In the first half of the show, we are joined by Charmi Peña and Petronella Lugemwa, with whom we spoke at the 2019 Depth of Field Wedding and Portrait Conference. Peña is a Nikon Ambassador and a wedding and portrait photographer who specializes in photographing Indian weddings. Lugemwa runs a New York-based, international wedding photography studio whose embrace of “multi-cultural weddings” echoes her personal celebration of her cultural identity. After a break, we speak with portrait and wedding photographer Steven Rosen, who is featured in our “What is Photography?” series. His impeccable portraiture informs his wedding work, and our conversation concentrates on Rosen’s work photographing same-sex weddings. Join us for this compelling episode, which blends personal motivations with practical tips. Guests: Charmi Peña, Petronella Lugemwa, Steven Rosen © Charmi Peña © Charmi Peña © Charmi Peña © Charmi Peña © Charmi Peña © Petronella Photography © Petronella Photography © Petronella Photography © Petronella Photography © Petronella Photography © Steven Rosen © Steven Rosen © Steven Rosen © Steven Rosen © Steven Rosen Charmi Peña © John Harris Petronella Lugemwa and Allan Weitz © John Harris Steven Rosen, outtake from “What is Photography?” © Cory Rice Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 12/06/2018
In 1958, Art Kane, already a successful art director looking to jump-start his photography career, pitched the idea of a “class photo” for Vogue magazine’s annual jazz edition. In addition to individual photographs of jazz legends, he proposed a group portrait of musicians gathered on a stoop, in Harlem. For music and photography aficionados, the photo, now commonly referred to as “A Great Day in Harlem,” is an iconic image and, on today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Jonathan Kane —Art Kane’s son and an accomplished musician and photographer in his own right—about the creation and impact of this photograph. We also discuss the new book, Art Kane. Harlem 1958- 60 th Anniversary Edition, which provides context for the image creation and never-before published outtakes. In the second half of the show, we welcome contemporary jazz photographer Clara Pereira, who is one half of the team behind the blog Jazztrail.net. Pereira speaks on the nuts and bolts of jazz photography, including tips on gear, technique, settings, and lighting. We find out that her simple approach is very effective, as she explains how to keep a low profile while shooting, the differences between working a club and a concert hall, and between performance and portrait work. Join us for this enjoyable episode and take a listen to our earlier episode on the image, “A Great Day in Hip-Hop,” which was photographed years later at the same Harlem location as Art Kane’s masterpiece. Guests: Jonathan Kane and Clara Pereira “Harlem 1958” © Art Kane Louis Armstrong, 1958 © Art Kane Jim Morrison, 1968 © Art Kane Great Day in Queens, 2018 © Jonathan Kane © Jonathan Kane Joshua Redman © Clara Pereira Pharoah Sanders © Clara Pereira Ben Goldberg © Clara Pereira Donald Harrison © Clara Pereira Francisco Mela © Clara Pereira Kidd Jordan © Clara Pereira Christian Sands © Clara Pereira Jamie Branch © Clara Pereira Jazzmeia Horn © Clara Pereira Clara Pereira © John Harris Allan Weitz and Clara Pereira © 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 11/29/2018
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome photographer Rick McGinnis and curator Julie Grahame, to discuss blogging and archiving. While this is certainly a broad subject, we will focus on the work of our two guests while considering how best to keep a collection of photos vibrant and valuable. Rick McGinnis is a veteran portrait, editorial, and travel photographer based in Toronto. Most of his assignments and self-assignments had been for local newspapers and magazines and, when this professional landscape changed and motivation was lacking, he almost got out of the business entirely. With a little encouragement, he began to explore the many images he had shot over the previous twenty years—some he had never even viewed—despite being gorgeous portraits of well-known musicians, actors, and artists. The result of this deep dig was a blog he simply called someoldpicturesitook. The blog proved to be an avenue not only into his past, but to his future, because images never seen were now appreciated, discussed, shared, and ultimately, licensed. McGinnis is now on to a new travel blog  and a new chapter in his career, and we will hear what he has learned along the way. Curator, consultant, and writer  Julie Grahame is the publisher of aCurator.com, a full-screen photography magazine, and the associated aCurator blog. She directed the Retna photo agency for 16 years and currently represents the estate of Yousuf Karsh for image licensing and maintains the extensive karsh.org website. We speak with Grahame about the benefits of a blog compared to a website, Instagram, or in her case, a webzine, and we discuss her relationship with the Karsh archive and insights she has drawn from licensing his iconic portraits. Throughout the humorous conversation, we consider Google search tools, tagging, preferred blogging sites, and repurposing older work, but we also touch on the personal, professional, and historical importance of valuing and maintaining your photo collection. Guests: Julie Grahame and Rick McGinnis Fela Kuti, 1989 © Rick McGinnis John Waters, 1987 © Rick McGinnis Patti Smith, 1995 © Rick McGinnis Jay McInerney, 1998 © Rick McGinnis Bjork, 1997 © Rick McGinnis Anne Hathaway, 2004 © Rick McGinnis Rebecca Hall, 2016 © Rick McGinnis Kinky Friedman, 2016 © Rick McGinnis Dwight Eisenhower, 1946 © Yousuf Karsh Ernest Hemingway, 1957 © Yousuf Karsh Winston Churchill, 1941© Yousuf Karsh Ansel Adams and Yousuf Karsh, Courtesy Yousuf Karsh Archive Rick McGinnis © John Harris Rick McGinnis and Julie Grahame © John Harris Rick McGinnis, Allan Weitz, and Julie Grahame © 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 06/15/2018
For this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we return to our conversations from the 2018 OPTIC Conference, hosted by B&H Photo. We spoke with so many wonderful photographers and will present these talks over the coming weeks but, today, we focus on the street photography of two very distinctive photographers. Our first guest is Sisse Brimberg, a veteran adventure and travel photographer who has more than thirty stories for National Geographic to her credit. Much of her work is devoted to historical and cultural stories, but our chat focuses on the informal portraiture she does in the streets, marketplaces, and country roads around the world. Brimberg relates how she is always “seeing” photographs, how she interacts with her subjects, and how to know when a photograph is worth taking. We also discuss her late husband and shooting partner, NatGeo photographer Cotton Coulson, and how her approach to work has changed since his death. After a short break, we speak with Xyza Cruz Bacani, a Magnum Foundation fellow and Fujifilm Ambassador. Born and raised in the Philippines, Bacani is based in Hong Kong, and started her street photography while employed as a domestic worker there. Her street photography blossomed into a career as a documentary photographer covering immigration, social justice, and human rights issues, but she still devotes time to “street.” We discuss the differences between the two disciplines, as well as her street photography techniques and cameras and lens choices. For street, travel, and documentary photographers, this is an episode not to be missed, and subscribe to our podcast for future conversations from OPTIC 2018, including those we had with photographers Keith Carter, Joyce Tenneson, and Seth Resnick. Guests: Sisse Brimberg and Xyza Cruz Bacani © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani Sisse Brimbeg at OPTIC 2018 © John Harris Xyza Cruz Bacani at OPTIC 2018 © 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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Posted 06/08/2018
Hosted by B&H Photo, the 2018 OPTIC Conference for Outdoor and Travel Photography was a wonderful opportunity to speak with a diverse group of great photographers, and we did just that. We sat down with a diverse mix of shooters, including Joyce Tenneson, Xyza Cruz Bacani, Keith Carter, and Sisse Brimberg. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will present these conversations, but today we start with National Geographic staff photographer Mark Thiessen, who, in addition to running the photo studio at NatGeo and shooting many stories for the magazine, has continued a twenty-year personal project on wildfires. To know his subject better, to be safer, and to get closer to the action, Thiessen became a certified wildland firefighter and travels to active fires each year to photograph the fires, as well as the property destruction and human toll taken by these wildfires. We speak with Thiessen about his experiences, tools and techniques for photographing fires, and about his other work for National Geographic. We also take a few minutes to catch up with Rod Clark, of Wine Country Camera. At OPTIC 2017, we spoke with Clark about the beautiful filter-holder system he developed, and now we find out how his company has grown since last year, and what Wine Country Camera has brought to the market. Guests: Mark Thiessen and Rod Clark Photograph by Mark Thiessen © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "Russian Smokejumpers" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "Russian Smokejumpers" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "Russian Smokejumpers" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "Russian Smokejumpers" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "Russian Smokejumpers" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "The Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "The Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke" © National Geographic Mark Thiessen on the B&H Photography Podcast © 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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Posted 04/13/2018
The “Day to Night” series that Stephen Wilkes has been working on for several years has received much-deserved attention and has grown from its New York roots to encompass locations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. These photographs, which capture a full 24-hour cycle in one frame are awe-inspiring when viewed as a whole; fascinating when analyzed in detail, and monumental when considered as a production. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes, his wife, business manager, and the behind-the-scenes producer of these incredible photographs. Our conversation is easy-going and bounces back and forth between Mr. and Ms. Wilkes, emphasizing their intertwined working relationship. With Mr. Wilkes, we speak of the genesis of the project and the influences he finds in the paintings of the Dutch Masters and the Hudson River School. We also discuss his process, which is both physically and technically demanding. He speaks of a desire to “get lost” in the moment and ultimately how his images are “a representation of his memory” from the day and place. With Ms. Wilkes, we speak of the knotty and time-consuming process of arranging a shoot that will last more than twenty-four continuous hours in some of the world’s busiest and most desolate locations. We discuss many photographs, but concentrate on two images from the “Day to Night” series to highlight their complicated productions—the first is a photograph of New York City’s Flatiron Building and, in the second half of the show, we visit a watering hole in the Serengeti Plain. To see these images, please visit our website, and, if you are in Washington D.C. prior to April 29, 2018, check out the “Day to Night” exhibit at the National Geographic Museum, and keep your eye out for the upcoming book, to be published by Taschen. Guests: Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes The Highline, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Times Square, New York City © Stephen Wilkes The Flatiron Building, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Coney Island, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Santa Monica Pier © Stephen Wilkes The Western Wall, Jerusalem © Stephen Wilkes Inauguration Day, 2013, Washington D.C. © Stephen Wilkes Yosemite National Park, California © Stephen Wilkes Serengeti National Park, Tanzania © Stephen Wilkes The Grand Canyon © Stephen Wilkes Regata Storica, Venice, Italy © Stephen Wilkes Stephen Wilkes © John Harris Bette Wilkes © John Harris Stephen and Bette Wilkes © John Harris Bette Wilkes, Allan Weitz, and Stephen Wilkes © 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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